Existing Home Sales Fall As Affordability Concerns Rise

Real Estate

A new housing market report is a wake-up call that what goes up must come down. Existing home sales dipped in February, continuing a seesawing pattern of gains and declines over the last few months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Each of the four major U.S. regions saw sales fall on a month-over-month basis in February. Sales activity year-over-year was also down overall, though the South experienced an increase while the remaining three regions reported drops in transactions.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, sank 7.2% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million in February. Year-over-year, sales decreased 2.4% (6.17 million in February 2021).

“Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge, as buyers are getting a double whammy: rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Some who had previously qualified at a 3% mortgage rate are no longer able to buy at the 4% rate.”

He added, “Monthly payments have risen by 28% from one year ago – which interestingly is not a part of the consumer price index – and the market remains swift with multiple offers still being recorded on most properties.”

Total housing inventory at the end of February totaled 870,000 units, up 2.4% from January and down 15.5% from one year ago (1.03 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from the record-low supply in January of 1.6 months and down from 2.0 months in February 2021.

Yun notes that rising rates and escalating prices have prevented many consumers from making a purchase.

“The sharp jump in mortgage rates and increasing inflation is taking a heavy toll on consumers’ savings,” he said. “However, I expect the pace of price appreciation to slow as demand cools and as supply improves somewhat due to more home construction.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $357,300, up 15.0% from February 2021 ($310,600), as prices grew in each region. This marks 120 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

First-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales in February, up from 27% in January and down from 31% in February 2021.

Articles You May Like

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: Walgreens, Constellation Brands, RH and others
Here’s what China’s real estate debt crisis could mean for Asia junk bond investors
Puerto Rico Oversight Board imposes FY23 budget
Exactly the Same Option Trading Strategy? Iron Condors vs Double Diagonals
New York City Sellers: Should You List This Summer?