Existing-home sales surged 14.5% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales fell year-over-year, down 22.6% from February 2022. First-time buyers were responsible for 27% of sales in February, down from 31% in January and 29% in February 2022.
“Conscious of changing mortgage rates, home buyers are taking advantage of any rate declines,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Moreover, we’re seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing, and the local economies are adding jobs.”
Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, identical to January and up 15.3% from one year ago (850,000).
The median existing home price for all housing types in February was $363,000, a decline of 0.2% from February 2022 ($363,700), as prices climbed in the Midwest and South yet waned in the Northeast and West. This ends a streak of 131 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest on record.
Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in February, nearly identical to last month and one year ago.
Read the NAR release.