Home resales rose another 2.7 percent last month, according to the National Association of REALTORS® monthly Existing Home Sales report.
An “existing home” is a home that’s been previously occupied and is not considered new construction.
The number of existing homes sold on a rolling 12-month basis is now at its highest point since May 2010, the month before the federal homebuyer tax credit ended. It’s also up some 40% since July 2010, the month after the tax credit ended.
But that’s not the biggest story in the Existing Home Sales report. The precipitous decline in home inventory deserves more attention.
At the current pace of sales, the complete, national home resale inventory will be sold in 7.6 months. This is close to 5 months faster as compared to last year’s peak, and well below the 2-year home supply average of 9.0 months. There more buyers in the market, it seems, and fewer homes from which they can choose.
Total home resale inventory is down to just 3.38 million homes nationwide — the fewest in 12 months.
There were other interesting statistics in the official Existing Home Sales report, including a break-down of purchases by buyer-type.
- First-time buyers accounted for 29% of purchases, down from 33% in January
- Repeat homebuyers accounted for 48% of purchases, up from 47% in January
- Investors accounted for 23% of of purchases, up from 20% in January
In addition, distressed sales — foreclosures and short sales — made up 37 percent of the market.
Over the next few days, more housing data will hit the wires and it’s expected to show similar strength to January’s Existing Home Sales report. With falling supplies and a growing base of move-up buyers, home prices in Chicago and around the country are expected to rise in the coming months ahead.