YOY January existing home sales fall 36.9%

January sales also fall .7% from December, marking the 12th consecutive monthly decline

WASHINGTON — Existing home sales fell for the 12th consecutive month in January, according to a report issued Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors.

The organization said that sales totaled 4 million units for the month, down .7% from December and down nearly 37% from 6.34 million in January 2022.

However, the median existing home price rose 1.3% from January 2022 to $359,000. The inventory of unsold homes also grew from December to 980,000 by the end of January, which is a 2.9-month supply at the current monthly sales price, the NAR said.

All regions also experienced year-over-year declines, but compared to December, sales in the South and West were up, while the East and West saw declines.

“Home sales are bottoming out,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Prices vary depending on a market’s affordability, with lower-priced regions witnessing modest growth and more expensive regions experiencing declines.”

He added that buyers are starting to have more negotiating power as homes on the market for more than 60 days can be purchased for around 10% less than the original list price.

Inventories of unsold homes, however, are higher month over month and year over year. At the end of January, there were 980,000 homes for sale, up 2.1% from December and 15.3% from January 2022.

Other highlights of the report were as follows:

+ In January, the median existing-home price for all housing types (single-family homes, town homes and condominiums) was $359,000, up 1.3% from January 2022, which marked the 131st consecutive month of year-over-year increases, the longest running streak on record.

+ Properties typically remained on the market for 33 days in January, up from 26 days in December and 19 days in January 2022. Some 54% of the homes sold in January were also on the market for less than a month, the report said.

+First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in January, unchanged from December, but up from 27% in January 2022. All cash sales also accounted for 29% of the transactions in January, up from 28% in December and 27% in January 2022.

+ Individual investors or second-home buyers purchased 16% of homes in January, unchanged from December but down from 22% in January 2022. These buyers account largely for cash sales.

+ Distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales, represented 1% of sales in January, the same as December and January 2022.

By region, the activity was as follows:

+ Existing home sales in the Northeast in January fell 3.8% from December to an annual rate of 500,000. This also was down nearly 36% from January 2022. The median home price was $383,000, up .3% from last year.

+ In the Midwest, January home sales fell 5% from December to an annual rate of 960,000. This also was down 33.3% from January 2022. The median home price was $252,300, up 2.7% from January 2022.

+ In the South, home sales rose 1.1% in January compared to December to an annual rate of 1.82 million. This was down 36.6% from January 2022. The median price was $332,500, up 3.4% from January 2022.

+ In the West, home sales rose 2.9% in January from December to an annual rate of 720,000. This was down 42.4% from January 2022. The median home price fell 4.6% from January 2022, to $525,000.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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