A report released by the National Association of Realtors on Tuesday showed existing home sales in the U.S. rebounded by much more than expected in the month of February.
NAR said existing home sales spiked by 14.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.58 million in February after falling by 0.7 percent to a rate of 4.00 million in January. Economists had expected existing home sales to climb to an annual rate of 4.17 million.
Existing home sales surged after falling for twelve straight months but were still down by 22.6 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
“Conscious of changing mortgage rates, home buyers are taking advantage of any rate declines,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
He added, “Moreover, we’re seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs.”
The report also said total housing inventory at the end of February was 980,000 units, unchanged from January but up 15.3 percent from 850,000 a year ago.
The unsold inventory represents 2.6 months of supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.9 months in January but up from 1.7 months in February 2022.
“Inventory levels are still at historic lows,” Yun said. “Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties.”
NAR said the median existing home price rose by 0.5 percent to $363,000 in February from $361,200 in January.
The median existing home price was down by 0.2 percent compared to $363,700 a year ago, reflecting the first decrease following a record streak of 131 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department is expected to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of February.
Economists currently expect new home sales to pull back to an annual rate of 645,000 in February after surging to a rate of 670,000 in January.
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