Last year was an exceptional one for the housing market, which boomed in the second half. The National Association of Realtors’ January existing-home-sales data show the continuation of some of the same trends this year—as well as some key changes and rising challenges.
Existing-home sales in January reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million, faster than the 6.61 million FactSet consensus expected, and an increase of 0.6% from December’s revised rate. Sales were up 23.7% compared with last January, the release said.
That high rate shows the resale market is still hot after home sales shot up in the second half of the year. January’s seasonally adjusted rate is one of the highest since April 2006, second only to the rate reported in October 2020, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said on a conference call with reporters.
While single-family sales remained strong at a rate of 5.93 million, condo and co-op sales made a greater leap. Sales of condos and co-ops increased 4.1% month over month and 28.8% year over year, compared with a single-family sales increase of 0.2% month over month and 23% year over year.
Single-family-home sales jumped 23% compared with last January—but the picture varies by price point.
Homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000 comprised the greatest share of homes sold at 40.1%. Sales in this category grew 27% year-over-year.
A historically tight supply of existing homes for sale could have cut into transactions in 2020—a trend that shows little sign of slowing in 2021. Housing inventory set another record low in the first month of the new year, Yun said on the call, falling to 1.04 million units. Months’ supply, or how long it would take at the current sales pace to sell every home listed, remained at 1.9 months, flat with December but down from 3.1 months last year. “Sales could be even higher, but just inventory is simply not there,” Yun said.