Existing-Home Sales Surged in February

Existing-home sales surged last month, up 9.5% in February, reaching a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.38 million—the largest monthly increase since the same period last year—according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

“The uptick in sales activity between January and February is a good sign, but there is some uncertainty in the housing market as we head into spring,” said Bright MLS Chief Economist Dr. Lisa Sturtevant. “The Federal Reserve likely will put off rate cuts until the summer, which suggests that mortgage rates will not come down much in the first half of the year.”

Additionally, while February saw no change in sales in the Northeast, there was a notable increase in the West (jumping 16.4% from the month prior, to an annual rate of 850,000), the South (up 9.8% from January, to an annual rate of 2.02 million) and the Midwest (increasing 8.4% to an annual rate of 1.03 million). Despite this, overall existing-home sales experienced a 3.3% decline across all regions year-over-year, down from 4.53 million.

However, despite such trends, there was a positive aspect, as the median existing-home sales price jumped by 5.7% from February 2023, reaching $384,000. This marks the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains, according to the report.

The total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 1.07 million units, up 5.9% from January and 10.3% in 2023 (970,000).

“Additional housing supply is helping to satisfy market demand,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Housing demand has been on a steady rise due to population and job growth, though the actual timing of purchases will be determined by prevailing mortgage rates and wider inventory choices.”

In terms of all housing types, the median existing-home price in February was $384,500, a 5.7% increase from 2023, the report indicated.

Key takeaways:

  • 3% of sales in February were foreclosures and short sales.
  • Single-family home sales grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in February.
  • Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 2.5% from January, declining 8.9% from a year ago (450,000 units).
  • The median existing condo price in February was $344,000, up 6.7% from 2023 ($322,400).
  • Numbering 480,000, existing-home sales in the Northeast were the same compared to January, but down 7.7% from February 2023.
  • The Northeast underperformed in home sales due to inventory constraints.

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