Total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.07 million units, down 16.4% from November and down 23% from one year ago (1.39 million), according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 1.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.3 months in November and down from the 3.0-month figure recorded in December 2019. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.
Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in December, seasonally even with November and down from 41 days in December 2019. Seventy percent of the homes sold in December 2020 were on the market for less than a month.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $309,800, up 12.9% from December 2019 ($274,500), as prices increased in every region. December’s national price increase marks 106 straight months of year-over-year gains.
First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, unchanged from the same time in 2019, but down from 32% in November 2020.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 2.68% in December, down from 2.77% in November. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.
Median home prices increased at double-digit rates in each of the four major regions from one year ago.
December 2020 saw existing-home sales in the Northeast climb 4.5%, recording an annual rate of 930,000, a 27.4% increase from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $362,100, up 19.0% from December 2019.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest were unchanged, recording an annual rate of 1,590,000 in December, but up 26.2% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $235,700, a 13.7% increase from December 2019.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 1.1% to an annual rate of 2,860,000 in December, up 20.7% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $268,100, an 11.3% increase from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 1.4% from the month prior, recording an annual rate of 1,380,000 in December, a 17.9% increase from a year ago. The median price in the West was $467,900, up 14.2% from December 2019.