Home Sales Fall, Prices Rise in February

A lower inventory of homes for sale, combined with strong demand for housing and a red hot economy are driving real estate prices through the roof, according to a news release by the National Association of Home Realtors.

Existing-home sales,were 3.7% lower to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in February from 5.69 million in January.

Meanwhile, monthly home prices in February rose 5.5% higher than January, and were 2.6% higher than February 2016 levels.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $228,400, up 7.7 % from February 2016’s median price of $212,100. February’s price increase was the fastest since last January’s 8.1% rise and marks the 60th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Median Home Prices by Region

  • Northeast:$250,200, which is 4.1% above February 2016;
  • Midwest: $171,700, up 6.1% from a year ago;
  • South: $205,300, up 9.6% from a year ago; and
  • West: $339,900, up 9.6% from a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings retreated in February as too few properties for sale and weakening affordability conditions stifled buyers in most of the country. “Realtors are reporting stronger foot traffic from a year ago, but low supply in the affordable price range continues to be the pest that’s pushing up price growth and pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers,” he said. “Newly listed properties are being snatched up quickly so far this year and leaving behind minimal choices for buyers trying to reach the market.”