January Existing-Home Inventory Shrinks to 2005 Levels
Mar 4, 2013
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Existing-home sales were up in January, although not as significantly as new home sales, and the National Association of Realtors sees a seller's market coming into focus as home prices continue moving upwards from year-ago levels.

NAR also reported that the inventory of existing homes for sale was at its lowest level since April 2005.

Existing home sales were up in all regions of the United States except in the West, where the market was most-constrained by limited inventory.

Total existing-home sales were up in January 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million from a downwardly revised December rate of 4.90 million. January existing home sales were up 9.1% over January 2012's 4.51 million-unit pace.

There were 1.74 million existing homes available for sale at the end of January, a 4.2-month supply. That's down from 4.5 months in December. The last time the housing supply was this low was April 2005, when it also stood at 4.2 months supply. NAR also reported that:

Existing home prices are up. The January 2013 national median existing-home price, encompassing all housing types, was $173,600, up 12.3% from January 2012. January's price increase was the strongest since November 2005's increase of 12.9%.

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