Existing-home sales fell 4.6% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales decreased year-over-year, down 7.1% from December 2020. First-time buyers were responsible for 30% of sales in December, up from 26% in November but down from 31% in December 2020.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, states that “December saw sales retreat, but the pull back was more a sign of supply constraints than an indication of a weakened demand for housing.” Despite the lessened demand, “sales for the entire year finished strong, reaching the highest annual level since 2006.”
The total housing inventory in December was 910,000 units, down 18.0% from November’s inventory and down 14.2% from one year ago (1.06 million). The median home price was $358,000, up 15.8% from December 2020 ($309,200), as prices rose in every region. This marks 118 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in December, equal to the previous month’s percentage and equal to December 2020.
Read the NAR release.