Feb 23, 2024
2 mins read
2 mins read

Home Sales Rose in January as Easing Mortgage Rates, Higher Availability Entice Buyers

Home Sales Rose in January as Easing Mortgage Rates, Higher Availability Entice Buyers

LOS ANGELES (NEWSnet/AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose in January as homebuyers were encouraged by easing mortgage rates and a modest pickup in properties on the market.

Existing home sales rose 3.1% last month from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 million, National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s the strongest sales pace since August and is slightly higher than the 3.98 million sales pace economists expected, according to FactSet.

The modest sales increase is an encouraging start for the housing market, which has been mired in a slump the past two years. Even so compared with January 2023, sales fell 1.7%. Existing home sales sank to a nearly 30-year low in 2023, tumbling 18.7% from 2022.

“While home sales remain sizably lower than a couple of years ago, January’s monthly gain is the start of more supply and demand,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

National median price rose 5.1% from January ’23 to $379,100. That’s the highest median sales price for the month of January in records dating to 1999.

For the first time in 14 months, the median home sales price outpaced the 4.5% annual gain in U.S. wage growth recorded in January.

Competition for relatively few homes on the market and elevated mortgage rates have limited house hunters’ buying power on top of years of soaring prices. That dynamic has helped to keep home prices mostly rising, despite weak home sales.

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