Steel Markets

Existing Home Sales Retreat 3.7% in February

Written by Sandy Williams

Existing home sales slowed in February, declining by 3.7 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.84 million. According to the National Association of Realtors, the rate continues to exceed year ago levels and was 5.4 percent above the sales pace reported in February 2016.

The median sale price for an existing home grew 7.7 percent from last year to $228,400. The price increase was the fastest in just over a year and was the 60th consecutive year-over-year gain.

Housing inventory, although still 6.4 percent lower than at this time last year, increased 4.2 percent in February to 1.75 existing homes. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory is at a 3.8 month supply, up slightly from 3.5 months in January.

Single family home sales slipped 3 percent in February while condominium and co-op sales fell 9.2 percent. Median price was up 7.6 percent to $299,900 year-over-year for single family homes and up 8.2 percent to $216,100 for condominiums.

Higher prices and tight inventory contributed to weaker sales in February, said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Realtors are reporting stronger foot traffic from a year ago, but low supply in the affordable price range continues to be the pest that’s pushing up price growth and pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers,” said Yun. “Newly listed properties are being snatched up quickly so far this year and leaving behind minimal choices for buyers trying to reach the market.”

Added Yun, “A growing share of homeowners in NAR’s first quarter HOME survey said now is a good time to sell, but until an increase in listings actually occurs, home prices will continue to move hastily.”

Regionally, sales were down 13.8 percent in the Northeast, 7.0 percent in the Midwest, and 3.1 percent in the West. Sales of existing homes rose 1.3 percent in the South.

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