Existing-home sales rose 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The fast start to 2017 saw existing-home sales reach their strongest level since February 2007 (5.79 million).
“Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.”
The total housing inventory rose 2.4% to 1.69 million homes available for sale, while the median existing home price stood at $228,900, a 7.1% increase from January 2016.
Distressed sales remained at 7% of the total in January, which are down from 9% a year ago. Five percent of sales were foreclosures and 2% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 14% and 10%, respectively.
Read the NAR release.