May 31, 2019
Existing Home Sales Hit Cyclical Low
There’s a good chance that we saw a cyclical low in existing home sales in January. The data in from February seems to indicate that, despite fears that housing demand would slow and perhaps even fall into decline territory, we have turned the corner. The growth in the market does not yet equal what we saw at this time last year—but comparing the numbers month-over-month according to the March Existing Home Sales report from the National Association of Realtors, there’s no question things got better.
The biggest news from that report: the number of sales of existing homes was 11.8 percent higher in February than in January. That qualifies as a solid surge—the strongest month-over-month gain we’ve experienced since December 2015. Of the four major US regions, three saw gains. The fourth—the Northeast—saw its market remain unchanged.
The NAR report classifies existing-home sales as “completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops”. The sales of these types of homes reached a seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.51 million in February (though, again, we are not quite at last year’s rate of sale, when we saw 5.61 million).
Accounting for this surge in sales? NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun credits, “A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence”. Indeed, the total housing inventory rose from 1.59 million existing homes for sale in January to 1.63 million for sale in February.
Meanwhile, the average time houses were on the market also fell—where that number was 49 days in January, by February that number had shrunk to 44 days on average (again—a year ago this number was even better, at 37 days). Of the homes sold in February, a solid 41 percent had been on the market for less than a month.
At Topouzis & Associates, P.C., we perform title searches and remedy problems with title in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Florida—with the aim of decreasing conflicts over title after closing. We back these services with title insurance for both lenders and owners. Contact us if you’re considering purchasing a new property, whether for yourself or as an investment, so we can help ensure that you achieve true ownership without having to deal with unforeseen hassles arising from problems created by someone else in the past.