February U.S. existing-home sales and prices provide evidence of a healthy housing recovery underway, according to the National Association of Realtors. The industry has now seen 20 consecutive months of sales above year-ago levels and 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
Total existing-home sales were up in February 2013 to 0.8%, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million, from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January 2013. February 2013 sales were up 10.2% from 4.52 million units in February 2012. February 2013 existing home sales were the highest since sales were boosted by a federal tax credit in November 2009.
"Job growth in the improving economy and pent-up demand are causing both home sales and rental leasing to rise. Though home prices are rising much faster than rents, historically low mortgage rates are still making home purchases affordable," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive."
End-of-month total housing inventory in February was up 9.6%, with 1.94 million existing homes for sale. At the current pace of sales this is a 4.7-month supply. This is up from 4.3 months in January 2013, which had the lowest level of supply since May 2005. The supply is down 19.2% from February 2012's 6.4-month supply.
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