Realtors: Existing home sales continue upswing

Existing-home sales continued a healthy trend, according to the National Association of Realtors, rising in January for the third gain in four months.

The sales increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million, NAR reported. 

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a release that strong gains in contracts in recent months show buyers are responding to favorable market conditions. “The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.4 percent to 2.31 million existing homes, a 6.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.4-month supply in December, NAR reported.

Single-family home sales rose 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.05 million in January from 3.90 million in December, and are 2.3 percent above the 3.96 million-unit pace a year ago, according to NAR. The median existing single-family home price was $154,400 in January, down 2.6 percent from January 2011.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 3.4 percent to an annual pace of 600,000 in January and are 7.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $225,700, which is 4.2 percent below January 2011.

Realtors: Existing home sales continue upswing