Home sales nationally break 12-month high

Paula Wolf//March 23, 2023

Home sales nationally break 12-month high

Paula Wolf//March 23, 2023

Could the real estate market be changing course again?

In February, existing-home sales across the country reversed a yearlong slide, registering the largest monthly percentage increase since July 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Month-over-month sales – completed existing-house transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose in all four major U.S. regions. Year over year, all regions posted declines.

Total existing-home sales skyrocketed 14.5% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million in February. They plummeted 22.6% (down from 5.92 million in February 2022) year over year.

“Conscious of changing mortgage rates, home buyers are taking advantage of any rate declines,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a release. “Moreover, we’re seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, same as January and up 15.3% from a year ago (850,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down 10.3% from January but up from 1.7 months in February 2022.

“Inventory levels are still at historic lows,” Yun added. “Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $363,000, a decline of 0.2% from February 2022 ($363,700). This ends a record streak of 131 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer