Existing-Home Sales Slip 3.2 Percent in January

Washington, D.C. – February 21, 2018 (nar.realtor) Existing-home sales slumped for the second consecutive month in January and experienced their largest decline on an annual basis in over three years, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions saw monthly and annual sales declines last month.

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Total existing-home sales(1), https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, sank 3.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in December 2017. After last month’s decline, sales are 4.8 percent below a year ago (largest annual decline since August 2014 at 5.5 percent) and at their slowest pace since last September (5.37 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says January’s retreat in closings highlights the housing market’s glaring inventory shortage to start 2018. “The utter lack of sufficient housing supply and its influence on higher home prices muted overall sales activity in much of the U.S. last month,” he said. “While the good news is that Realtors® in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of last year(2), sales failed to follow course and far lagged last January’s pace. It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”

The median existing-home price(3) for all housing types in January was $240,500, up 5.8 percent from January 2017 ($227,300). January’s price increase marks the 71st straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory(4) at the end of January rose 4.1 percent to 1.52 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 9.5 percent lower than a year ago (1.68 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 32 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace (3.6 months a year ago).

“Another month of solid price gains underlines this ongoing trend of strong demand and weak supply. The underproduction of single-family homes over the last decade has played a predominant role in the current inventory crisis that is weighing on affordability,” said Yun. “However, there’s hope that the tide is finally turning. There was a nice jump in new home construction in January and homebuilder confidence is high. These two factors will hopefully lay the foundation for the building industry to meaningfully ramp up production as this year progresses.”

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in January, which is down from 32 percent in December 2017 and 33 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2017(5) – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage moved higher for the fourth straight month to 4.03 percent in January from 3.95 percent in December. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.

“The gradual uptick in wages over the last few months is a promising development for the housing market, but there’s risk these income gains could be offset by the recent jump in mortgage rates,” said Yun. “That is why the pace of added new and existing supply in the months ahead is worth monitoring. If inventory conditions can improve enough to cool the swift price growth in several markets, most prospective buyers should be able to absorb the higher borrowing costs.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 42 days in January, which is up from 40 days in December 2017 but down from a year ago (50 days). Forty-three percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listings views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in January were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; Midland, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colo.

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NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, says Realtors® in several markets are reporting that the spring buying season appears to be starting early this year. “Those planning to buy a home this spring should look into getting pre-approved for a mortgage now and start having those serious conversations with their real estate agent on what they’re looking for in a home and where they want to buy,” she said. “With demand exceeding supply in most areas, competition will only heat up in the months ahead. Beginning the home search now could lead to a successful and less stressful buying experience.”

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in January, which is up from 20 percent in December 2017 but down from 23 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in January, up from 16 percent both last month and a year ago.

Distressed sales(6) – foreclosures and short sales – were 5 percent of sales in January, unchanged from December 2017 and down from 7 percent a year ago. Four percent of January sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales declined 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million in January from 4.95 million in December, and are now 4.8 percent below the 5.00 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $241,700 in January, up 5.7 percent from January 2017.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 units in January, but are still 4.6 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $231,600 in January, which is 7.1 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
January existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 730,000, and are now 7.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $269,100, which is 6.8 percent above January 2017.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales dipped 6.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in January, and are now 3.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $188,000, up 8.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South decreased 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.26 million in January, and are 1.7 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $208,200, up 4.3 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.14 million in January, and are now 9.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $362,600, up 8.8 percent from January 2017.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1. Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2. According to NAR’s latest Realtors® Confidence Index, the Buyer Traffic Index came in at 69 in January, up from 63 in January 2017.

3. The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

4. Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

5. Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

6. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

NAR Legal Update – House Passes Bill to Curb Drive-by Lawsuits Under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

NAR backs a bill to give property owners a chance to correct accessibility issues before going to court. The bill passed the House on February 15th. For more information watch this video:

Fourth Quarter Home Prices Up 5.3 Percent; Nearly Two-Thirds of Markets at All-Time High

Washington, D.C. – February 13, 2018 (nar.realtor) An uptick in existing-home sales in the final three months of 2017 pulled down housing inventory to an all-time low and kept home-price growth at its recent robust pace, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of REALTORS®.

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The national median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $247,800, which is up 5.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 ($235,400). The median price during last year’s third quarter climbed 5.6 percent from the third quarter of 2016.

Single-family home prices last quarter increased in 92 percent of measured markets, with 162 out of 177 metropolitan statistical areas(1) (MSAs) showing sales price gains in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago. Twenty-six metro areas (15 percent) experienced double-digit increases (11 percent in the third quarter), and 18 metros eclipsed their previous peak sales price. Overall, home prices are now at their all-time high in 114 markets (64 percent).

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says 2017 capped off another year where home prices in most markets ascended at a steady clip amidst improving sales and worsening inventory conditions. “A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices,” he said. “Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48 percent since 2011, yet during this same timeframe, incomes are up only 15 percent. In the West region, where very healthy labor markets are driving demand, the gap is even wider.”

Added Yun, “These consistent, multi-year price gains have certainly been great news for homeowners, and especially for those who were at one time in a negative equity situation; however, the shortage of new homes being built over the past decade is really burdening local markets and making homebuying less affordable.”

Total existing-home sales(2), including single family and condos, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in the fourth quarter from 5.39 million in the third quarter, and are 1.3 percent higher than the 5.55 million pace during the fourth quarter of 2016.

At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.48 million existing homes available for sale(3), which was 10.3 percent below the 1.65 million homes for sale at the end of the fourth quarter in 2016. The average supply during the fourth quarter was 3.5 months – down from 4.2 months in the fourth quarter of last year.

The national family median income rose to $74,492(4) in the fourth quarter, but overall affordability still edged downward compared to a year ago because of the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $55,585, a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $52,659, and $46,808 would be needed for a 20 percent down payment.

“While tight supply is expected to keep home prices on an upward trajectory in most metro areas in 2018, both the uptick in mortgage rates and the impact of the new tax law on some high-cost markets could cause price growth to moderate nationally,” said Yun. “In areas where homebuilding has severely lagged job creation in recent years, it’s going to be a slow slog before there’s enough new construction to cool price appreciation to a pace that aligns more closely with incomes.”

The five most expensive housing markets in the fourth quarter were the San Jose, California metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $1,270,000; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, $920,000; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California, $785,000; urban Honolulu, $760,600; and San Diego-Carlsbad, $610,000.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the fourth quarter were Cumberland, Maryland, $84,600; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, $90,200; Decatur, Illinois, $100,000; Binghamton, New York, $108,900; and Wichita Falls, Texas, $110,400.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 61 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $237,500 in the fourth quarter, up 7.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 ($222,000). Eighty-four percent of metro areas showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
Total existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter but are 0.4 percent below the fourth quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $268,100 in the fourth quarter, up 4.2 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter and are 2.3 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest grew 7.2 percent to $193,800 in the fourth quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter and are 1.8 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $221,600 in the fourth quarter, 5.0 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales in the fourth quarter were at an annualized rate of 1.23 million (unchanged from the third quarter), up 0.3 percent from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.2 percent to $374,400 in the fourth quarter from the fourth quarter of 2016.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: NAR releases quarterly median single-family price data for approximately 175 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In some cases the MSA prices may not coincide with data released by state and local REALTORS® associations. Any discrepancy may be due to differences in geographic coverage, product mix, and timing. In the event of discrepancies, REALTORS® are advised that for business purposes, local data from their association may be more relevant.

Data tables for MSA home prices (single family and condo) are posted at https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/housing-statistics/metropolitan-median-area-prices-and-affordability. If insufficient data is reported for a MSA in particular quarter, it is listed as N/A. For areas not covered in the tables, please contact the local association of REALTORS®.

1. Areas are generally metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. NAR adheres to the OMB definitions, although in some areas an exact match is not possible from the available data. A list of counties included in MSA definitions is available at: http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/List4.txt (link is external).

Regional median home prices are from a separate sampling that includes rural areas and portions of some smaller metros that are not included in this report; the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Quarter-to-quarter comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Median price measurement reflects the types of homes that are selling during the quarter and can be skewed at times by changes in the sales mix. For example, changes in the level of distressed sales, which are heavily discounted, can vary notably in given markets and may affect percentage comparisons. Annual price measures generally smooth out any quarterly swings.

NAR began tracking of metropolitan area median single-family home prices in 1979; the metro area condo price series dates back to 1989.

Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes. As the reporting sample expands in the future, additional areas will be included in the condo price report.

2. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter was maintained for four consecutive quarters. Total home sales include single family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing.

3. Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

Seasonally adjusted rates are used in reporting quarterly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, sales volume normally is higher in the summer and relatively light in winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and household buying patterns.

4. Income figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, based on NAR modeling of Census data. Qualifying income requirements are determined using several scenarios on downpayment percentages and assume 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest at a mortgage interest rate of 3.9%.

NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for January will be released February 21, and the Pending Home Sales Index for January will be released February 28; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

2018 Home Price Predictions – NAR Infographic

While home prices in the U.S. are expected to increase in 2018 by roughly 2%, some states could see greater increases, and some could see decreases. Here are some predictions from the National Association of REALTORS® for states where the housing market could grow or decline.

Real Estate infographic