The National Association of Realtors observed higher levels of existing home sales in January. Realtors sold 4.57 million existing homes (at the annual rate) in January, up from 4.38 million in December. This was the fastest pace since April 2010. Each region of the country saw gains, with the strongest monthly growth experienced in the West. Note that the West still lags in year-over-year sales growth, however, with the strongest annual gains occurring in the Northeast.

There are currently 6.1 months of supply on the market. This figure has edged lower over the past few months; it was 9.3 months of supply as recently as July, for instance. The median price for existing home sales was $154,700 in January, down from $162,200 in December.

In discussing recent improvements in the housing market, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun described more favorable conditions for home buyers. “The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents.”

Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.

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