NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this December fell from last month. Despite the decrease this month, 2016 was still the best year of existing-home sales in the last ten years. December’s existing-home sales reached the 5.49 million seasonally adjusted annual rate and existing-home sales are modestly up 0.7 percent from a year ago as the year ends on a good note.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $232,200 in December, up 4.0 percent from a year ago. The median price for the year was $233,900, which is 5.2 percent higher than last year’s price. Total existing-home sales for the year finished at 5.45 million, which is also higher than last year at 5.25 million.
Regionally, three of the four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago, with the Northeast being the only region to have a decline of 3.8 percent. The South had the biggest increase of 6.5 percent followed by the West with 6.0 percent. The Midwest had the smallest gain of 4.6 percent increase from December 2015.
From November, three of the four regions experienced declines in sales while the South remained flat. The Midwest had a decline of 3.8 percent. The West had a decline of 4.8 percent while the Northeast had the biggest decline of 6.2 percent.
Three of the four regions showed an increase in sales from a year ago with the West being the only region with a decline of 1.6 percent. The South had a modest gain of 0.4 percent. The Midwest had a gain of 2.4 percent and the Northeast had the biggest increase of 2.7 percent. The South headed all regions in percentage of national sales at 41.0 percent while the Northeast has the smallest share at 13.8 percent.
December’s inventory figures are down 10.8 percent from last month to 1.65 million homes for sale and the level is the lowest since tracking began in 1999. Inventories are down 6.3 percent from a year ago which is 19 months of year over year declines. It will take 3.6 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 52 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, down from 58 days a year ago.
Single-family sales declined 1.8 percent while condos also declined 10.3 percent compared to last month. Single-family home sales inclined 1.5 percent and condo sales were down 4.7 percent compared to a year ago. Both single family and condos had an increase in price with single family up 3.8 percent at $233,500 and condos up 5.5 percent at $221,600 from December 2015.