Existing Home Sales Bounced Back in December

Existing home sales rebounded in December, rising 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). December’s reading is a significant increase from November’s rate of 4.76 million. The NAR report attributes the increase to the rollout of the Know Before You Owe initiative, which pushed a portion of November’s transactions into the December period.

“While the carryover of November’s delayed transactions into December contributed greatly to the sharp increase, the overall pace taken together indicates sales these last two months maintained the healthy level of activity seen in most of 2015,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Additionally, the prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months and warm November and December weather allowed more homes to close before the end of the year.”

Sales of existing homes increased across all regions, rising 23.2 percent in the West, 14.6 percent in the South, 10.9 percent in the Midwest, and 8.7 percent in the Northeast.

The median existing home price increased to $226,000 in December, an 8.0 percent increase from December 2014.

Distressed sales fell 1 point to 8 percent in December. Six percent of December sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold at an average discount of 16 percent below market rates, while short sales were discounted at 15 percent.

Read the NAR release.