Existing homes sales surged to their highest annual rate in 18 months, showing a promising beginning according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.
The total number of existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February, this is the highest annual rate since September 2013 that it was also 5.19 million.
Total housing inventory at the end of March grew as well up to 5.3% to 2 million existing homes available for sale. Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.7 months in February.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Sales are 4.7% higher than a year ago and above year-over-year totals for the fifth consecutive month.
Based on company transactional data and Google search activity, Auction.com predicted Monday that existing-home sales in January will come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.06 million, just slightly above the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) December estimate of 5.04 million.
An early forecast of existing-home sales projects a minor but surely increment transaction activity this month following December’s modest gain.
Mortgage rates are higher today, leaving September as one of only 3 months this year with noticeable upward movement.
And today was an exception to that recent trend, but it’s tempered by the fact that yesterday’s gains were the best of the month.
The only downside is that the most prevalently-quoted conforming 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers remains 4.25% whereas it would have likely moved to 4.125% if rate went the other direction today.
These movement considerations may be small scale compared to what lies ahead. Several big tickets events are coming up in the second half of this week and they stand a good chance to increase the level of volatility.
Sales of new single family houses in August 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, up from July’s printing of 427,000, the fastest rate in six years and the biggest monthly jump since January 1992.
The biggest gains and by far the reason for the big increase were new home sales in the West, one of the two largest housing markets, along with the South.
New home sales in the West were up 50% over July.
The South saw an 8% increase. The South is by far the largest region for new home sales, outdistancing all other regions combined.
The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2014 was $275,600; the average sales price was $347,900.