Existing home sales in January were disappointing
to start the New Year, declining to their lowest rate in nine months. The sales, which include completed sales of
single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and co-ops, were down 4.9
percent from December’s 5.7 million rate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 4.82 million.
The rate of sales was the slowest since May 2014 when the
annual pace was 4.90 million but sales were higher than a year earlier, up 3.2
percent. It was the fourth straight month that existing home sales bettered the
score from the previous year.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, called the launch of the New Year somewhat
disappointing and noted that January closings were down throughout the country.
“January housing data can be volatile because of seasonal influences, but low
housing supply and the ongoing rise in home prices above the pace of inflation
appeared to slow sales despite interest rates remaining near historic lows,” he
said. “Realtors are reporting that low rates are attracting
potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some
to delay decisions.”