Existing-home sales fell 7.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales fell year-over-year, down 2.4% from February 2021. First-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales in February, up from 27% in January and down from 31% in February 2021.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, states that “Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge, as buyers are getting a double whammy: rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases. Some who had previously qualified at a 3% mortgage rate are no longer able to buy at the 4% rate.”
The total housing inventory in February was 870,000 units, up 2.4% from January’s inventory and down 15.5% from one year ago (1.03 million). The median home price was $357,300, up 15.0% from February 2021 ($310,600), as prices rose in every region. This marks 120 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in February, equal to the previous month’s percentage and equal to February 2021.
Read the NAR release.