Existing Home Sales Drop 7.1% in February


Existing Home Sales Drop 7.1% in February

By Burt Carey

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell 7.1 percent in February, according to the National Association of Realtors.

home sales, U.S. , NAR, home buying options, market inventory, new regulationsNortheastern states saw the biggest drop in home sales, down 17.1 percent from January figures. The negative trend is worrisome for analysts who see such numbers as a sign of continuing weakness in both the global and domestic economies.

The NAR blamed a change in regulations for a similar drop in existing home sales in November 2015. While numbers appeared to rebound in December and January, the precipitous drop in February indicates that the Obama Administration’s announcements of improving unemployment rates and increased manufacturing may not be as strong as reported.

At the current pace of sales, the NAR estimates that 5.08 million homes will be sold this year. That’s the lowest estimate since November.

The NAR reported a 14.7 percent jump in existing home sales in December, putting the country on pace to see 5.46 million homes sold during the year. Just a month earlier, the NAR had reported a serious decline in November sales that had reduced the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales to land around the 4.76 million mark.

New regulations in October were designed to help those buying homes to better understand their options for loans and to give them opportunities to find the best terms. Analysts say those changes caused a slight slowdown in November closings. But any carryover of pending sales from November was reflected in December numbers.

Sales are actually up 2.2 percent from February 2015, but are below the pace economists had expected. The NAR had forecast that the country would see 5.32 million homes sell during the year.

Market inventory, or the number of homes for sale, remains low, and the median price of those on the market increased 4.4 percent over a year ago, to $210,800. There were 1.88 million homes for sale in February, a 3.3 percent increase from January but 1.1 percent lower than February 2015. The realtor group estimates that it would take 4.4 months to sell all of the homes on the market. In strong years, a six-month inventory is considered healthy.

Source:  Baret News

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