A slight increase in December sales helped make 2013 the best year for existing-home sales since 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales (which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops) increased 1.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million in December 2013, from a downwardly revised 4.82 million in November. Still, December 2013 was down 0.6% from December 2012's 4.90 million-unit level.
Total existing-home sales for full-year 2013 were 5.09 million units, up 9.1% over full-year 2012. It was the strongest year since 2006 had sales of 6.48 million units—which NAR called an unsustainably high rate that came at the end of the housing boom.
"Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20% since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $198,000, up 9.9% from December 2012.
Total housing inventory at the end of December was down 9.3%, to 1.86 million existing homes available for sale—a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.1 month supply in November.
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