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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise as Prices Fall in January
by Tom Moeller  February 18, 2022

• Sales rise to twelve-month high.

• Increases are broad-based regionally.

• Median price declines to nine-month low.

Existing home sales increased 6.7% (-2.3% y/y) to 6.500 million (SAAR) in January from 6.090 million in December, revised from 6.180 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Earlier figures were revised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected sales of 6.10 million units in January. These data are compiled when existing home sales close.

The rise in existing home sales included a 6.5% increase (-2.4% y/y) in single-family home sales to 5.760 million from 5.410 million in December. Sales of condos and co-ops improved 8.8% (-1.3% y/y) to 740,000 from 680,000.

Sales increased across the country last month. In the South, sales rose 9.3% (0.3% y/y) to 2.940 million in January. Sales in the Northeast strengthened 6.8% (-8.2% y/y) to 780,000. Sales in the Midwest improved 4.1% but were unchanged y/y at 1.510 million. Sales in the West rose 4.1% (-6.6% y/y) to 1.270 million.

The market for previously owed homes remained tight as the number of existing homes on the market dropped 2.3% (NSA) in January to a record low of 860,000 units (-16.5% y/y). The supply of homes on the market fell to 1.6 months in January. That was well below the high of 4.6 months in May 2020. These figures date back to January 1999.

The median price of an existing home fell 1.2% (+15.4% y/y) to $350,300 in January. In the West, prices eased 0.2% last month (+8.8% y/y) to $505,800. January home prices in the Northeast slipped 0.8% (+6.0% y/y) to $382,800. Prices in the South weakened 1.6% in January (+18.7% y/y) to $312,400. In the Midwest, prices eased 3.4% last month (+7.8% y/y) to $245,900. The price data are not seasonally adjusted.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability are compiled by the National Association of Realtors. The data on single-family home sales extend back to February 1968. Total sales and price data and regional sales can be found in Haver's USECON database. Regional price and affordability data and national inventory data are available in the REALTOR database. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Total Sales 6,500 6,090 6,330 -2.3 6,127 5,638 5,325
   Northeast 780 730 740 -8.2 758 704 684
   Midwest 1,510 1,450 1,470 0.0 1,397 1,333 1,244
   South 2,940 2,690 2,830 0.3 2,708 2,449 2,283
   West 1,270 1,220 1,290 -6.6 1,264 1,153 1,114
 Single-Family Sales 5,760 5,410 5,630 -2.4 5,418 5,059 4,746
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 350,300 354,600 354,300 15.4 343,700 295,217 269,783
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