June 19th, 2024

US home sales fell again in January; prices edged higher

By Alex Veiga, The Associated Press on February 21, 2023.

A "For Sale" sign is posted outside a single family home, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Derry, N.H. On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes in January. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s housing slump deepened in January as home sales fell for the 12th consecutive month to the slowest pace in more than a dozen years.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that existing U.S. home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 million properties last month. That’s the slowest annual pace since October 2010, when the housing market was still reeling from the 2008 foreclosure crisis.

January’s sales cratered by nearly 37% from a year earlier and slipped 0.7% from December. Economists had projected a modest monthly rise in sales, according to FactSet.

“Home sales are bottoming out,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

The median U.S. home price edged up 1.3% from January last year to $359,000. That’s the slowest annual increase in home prices since February 2012. The median home price is down around 13% since it peaked in June last year.

“Half the country is seeing some price declines, while the other half of the country is seeing some price increases,” Yun said.

Existing home sales sank nearly 18% in 2022 from a year earlier as mortgage rates more than doubled. A tight inventory of properties on the market and years of soaring home prices also helped push homeownership out of reach for an increasing number of Americans.

The average weekly rate on a 30-year mortgage has been hovering above 6% since mid-November, but jumped last week to 6.32%, its highest level in five weeks, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. A year ago it was 3.92%.

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