According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), home sales in December dropped by 1% from November, but still stood nearly 13% above the levels of one year ago. That means home sales have risen from the year-ago month for 18 straight months. For 2012 as a whole, sales were up 9% to 4.65 million units, the highest annual total since 2007.
Prices, meanwhile, are picking up because the number of homes on the market continues to drop despite the sales volume gains. The number of homes listed for sale fell to 1.82 million at the end of 2012, an 8.5% drop from November and a 21.6% decline from one year earlier, NAR reports.
The number of homes listed for sale in January fell by 4.9%, leaving 1.74 million properties on the market. That’s the lowest since December of 1999, when there were 1.71 million homes on the market. By contrast, there were 2.91 million homes on the market two years ago at this time.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, home sales rose by just 0.4% in January, to an annual rate of 4.92 million units. Still, that’s up from 9.1% one year ago.
While inventories typically increase in the spring, the Realtors’ group has expressed growing concerns that sales volumes are being held back by the lack of choice. This is good news for homeowners who have watched home prices drop over the last six years.
These numbers vary depending on geographical location, and the uncertainty of the job market continues to affect home sales. However, the real estate market is turning the corner and we remain optimistic.
Courtesy (in part) of NickTimiraos