Existing Home Sales Fall after January High

Existing home sales fell 7.1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). February’s reading follows January’s rate of 5.47 million units, a six month high.

“Sales took a considerable step back in most of the country last month, and especially in the Northeast and Midwest,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The overall demand for buying is still solid entering the busy spring season, but home prices and rents outpacing wages, and anxiety about the health of the economy are holding back a segment of would-be buyers.”

Annual sales of existing homes fell across all regions, dropping most sharply in the Northeast and Midwest, falling by 17.1 percent and 13.8 percent respectively. Sales in the West fell by 3.4 percent, and sales in the South fell by 1.8 percent.

The median existing home price increased to $210,800, a 4.4 percent increase from February 2015.

Distressed sales rose 1 point to 10 percent of sales in February. Seven percent of the month’s sales were foreclosures while 3 percent were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 17 percent and 16 percent respectively.

Read the NAR release.