Existing-home sales Vaulted 9.5% in February, the Largest Monthly Increase in a Year

By klrw460 March 21, 2024

In February, the National Association of REALTORS® reported an increase in existing home sales across the United States, with noticeable jumps in the West, South, and Midwest regions, while sales remained unchanged in the Northeast. Compared to the same period last year, sales experienced a decline across all regions.

The total existing home sales, which encompass single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, saw a significant rise of 9.5% from January, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million. However, this figure represented a 3.3% decrease from 4.53 million in February of the previous year.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at NAR, highlighted that the additional housing supply is meeting market demand, which has been consistently rising due to population and job growth. Yet, he pointed out that the timing of purchases would largely depend on mortgage rates and the availability of inventory.

The total housing inventory at the end of February stood at 1.07 million units, marking a 5.9% increase from January and a 10.3% increase from the previous year. Despite this, the unsold inventory represents just a 2.9-month supply at the current sales pace, slightly down from 3.0 months in January but up from 2.6 months in February of the previous year.

Median existing home prices for all housing types in February were reported at $384,500, a 5.7% increase from the previous year. Price increases were recorded across all four U.S. regions.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index indicated that properties typically stayed on the market for 38 days in February, an increase from previous months. The share of first-time buyers decreased slightly, accounting for 26% of sales, while all-cash sales constituted 33% of transactions, indicating a rise from the previous year.

The report also provided insights into mortgage rates, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 6.74% as of mid-March, a slight decrease from the week before but an increase from the previous year.

Breaking down the sales by category, single-family home sales and condominium/co-op sales both showed varying degrees of increase from January, with distinct changes in median prices that reflect regional disparities.

Regionally, the Northeast did not see a change in the number of existing home sales from January but experienced a decrease compared to the previous year. However, it recorded the highest price increase among the regions. The Midwest, South, and West saw increases in home sales from the previous month, with varying annual changes and median price adjustments, highlighting the diverse dynamics of the U.S. housing market.

For the full details and insights, please refer to the original press release at the following link: https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-vaulted-9-5-in-february-largest-monthly-increase-in-a-year