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Sales of Existing Homes Slump 0.4%

By Justin Loiseau – Mar 20, 2014 at 11:58AM

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Home sales dip again as prices keep heading higher.

Sales of existing homes fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million for February, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report released today.

After cold weather helped pull existing home sales down 5.1% for January, analyst expectations for February proved spot on. Compared to February 2013, sales are down 7.1%. The numbers include completed transactions on single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops.

For February 2014, the housing inventory expanded 6.4% to 2.0 million existing homes. At the current sales rate, this represents a 5.2-month supply of existing homes, slightly more than January's 4.9-month supply.

"We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement today. "Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead. With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year."

As sales have slumped in the past 12 months, house prices have soared. Compared to a year ago, February's $189,000 median price tag is 9.1% higher. According to Yun, price increases over the past four years equate to roughly $4 trillion of added housing market wealth.

The median time on the market fell five days from January to 62 days, and is 12 days less than in February 2013.


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