Existing home sales decrease in December

Existing-home sales fell 1.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales fell year-over-year, down 34.0% from December 2021. First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, which was up from November and up from 30% in December 2021.

“December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

The total housing inventory in December was 970 thousand units, down 13.4% from November but up 10.7% from one year ago. The median existing-home price was $366,900, up 2.3% from December 2021 ($358,800), as prices rose in every region. This marks 130 consecutive months of year-over-year gains, the longest-running streak on record.

Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—represented 1% of sales in December, virtually unchanged from last month and one year ago.

Read the NAR release.