Median Price of U.S. Existing Homes at $188,900, Up 11% from Year Ago

Median Price of U.S. Existing Homes at $188,900, Up 11% from Year AgoThe median price of existing U.S. homes in January was $188,900, up 10.7 percent from January 2013.
Distressed homes – including foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 15 percent of January sales, compared with 14 percent in December and 24 percent in January 2013.
Disruptive weather hit home resales hard in January, down to the lowest level in a year-and-a-half, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.
However, ongoing inventory shortages continue to lift prices in much of the U.S.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in January, from 4.87 million in December.
That puts sales at 5.1 percent below the 4.87 million-unit pace in January 2013. Last month’s level of activity was the slowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.
Eleven percent of January sales were foreclosures, and 4 percent were short sales.
Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in January, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.
Total housing inventory at the end of January rose 2.2 percent to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in December.
Unsold inventory is 7.3 percent above a year ago, when there was a 4.4-month supply. A supply of 6.0 to 6.5 months represents a rough balance between buyers and sellers.
Said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist:
” Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception. Some housing activity will be delayed until spring.
“At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates. These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact.”

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