Existing-home sales increased by 3.6% from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While the Midwest saw sales decline, the other three major U.S. regions reported meaningful growth. Sales are 10.8% above the December 2018 level.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said home sales fluctuated a great deal last year. “I view 2019 as a neutral year for housing in terms of sales,” Yun said. “Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren’t as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most.”
The total housing inventory was 1.40 million, down 14.6% from November and 8.5% from one year ago (1.53 million). The median home price was $274,500, up 7.8% from December 2018. November’s price increase marks the 94th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales were 2% of the total, unchanged from last month and December 2018.
Read the NAR release.