The U.S. real estate market remains hot ahead of the spring selling season, with existing home sales up 6.7% as of last measure, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Experts attribute the growth in sales to an uptick in mortgage interest rates, as buyers rushed to lock down their home purchases before rates move higher. Mortgage rates have increased almost a full percentage point since December, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage briefly exceeding 4% in February, the highest level since May 2019.
New Listings were down 32.4 percent for single family homes and 26.5 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales decreased 4.9 percent for single family homes and 25.5 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.
The Median Sales Price was up 17.9 percent to $1,945,000 for single family homes and 2.8 percent to $1,230,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 50.0 percent for single family units and 50.8 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units.
Inventory was at an all-time low of 860,000 as February began, down 17% from a year ago and equivalent to 1.6 months supply. According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, much of the current housing supply is concentrated at the upper end of the market, where inventory is increasing, while homes priced at the lower end of the market are quickly disappearing, leaving many first-time buyers behind. The shortage of homes is boosting demand even further, and with bidding wars common in many markets, it’s no surprise sales prices continue to soar.