Existing-Home sales down, prices steady

Existing-home sales dropped 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units in January from a revised 5.44 million in December, but remain 11.5 percent above the 4.53 million-unit level in January 2009, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
· Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.5 percent to 3.27 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.2-month supply in December.
· Raw unsold inventory is 9.6 percent below a year ago, and is at the lowest level since March 2006.
· The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $164,700 in January, unchanged from a year earlier.
· Distressed homes, which accounted for 38 percent of sales last month, continue to downwardly distort the median price because they typically are discounted in comparison with traditional homes in the same area.
· Single-family home sales fell 6.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in January from a level of 4.76 million in December, but are 8.6 percent above the 4.08 million pace in January 2009.
· The median existing single-family home price was $163,600 in January, down 0.4 percent from a year ago.

Here’s a breakdown by region:
* Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 10.9 percent to an annual pace of 820,000 in January but are 22.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,300, a gain of 8.8 percent from January 2009.
* Existing-home sales in the Midwest declined 6.9 percent in January to a level of 1.08 million but are 8.0 percent higher than January 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $130,300, which is 1.0 percent below a year ago.
* In the South, existing-home sales dropped 7.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.87 million in January but are 12.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the South was $140,200, down 2.0 percent from January 2009.
* Existing-home sales in the West declined 5.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in January but are 7.6 percent higher than January 2009. The median price in the West was $203,400, down 5.8 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR

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