Existing-home sales rose by 0.7% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales rose 22.2% from December 2019, reaching their highest level since 2006 . First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, unchanged from the same time in 2019, but down from 32% in November 2020.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, states that the low mortgage rates and improving economic condition will continue to incentivize buyers. “Home sales rose in December, and for 2020 as a whole, we saw sales perform at their highest levels since 2006, despite the pandemic,” he said. “What’s even better is that this momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market.”
The total housing inventory was 1.07 million units, down 16.4% from November and down 23% from one year ago (1.39 million). The median home price was $309,800, up 12.9% from December 2019. This increase marks 106 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in December, equal to November’s percentage but down from 2% in December 2019.
Read the NAR release.