Existing-Home Sales, Prices Remain Stable

U.S. home sales fell slightly last month but remain higher than they were a year ago..
According to the National Association of Realtors®, February sales of U.S. existing homes dropped 0.9 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million but are 8.8 percent higher than the 4.22 million-unit level seen in February 2011.
Arrows Up and DownThe national median existing-home price remained about the same as well, rising 0.3 percent to $156,600 in February.
“Supply and demand have become more balanced in more markets, but with tight supply in the lower price ranges,” said NAR President Moe Veissi. “When markets are balanced, we normally see prices rise one to two percentage points above the rate of inflation, but foreclosures and short sales are holding back median prices.”
That is evident in the Chicago real estate market. As we reported yesterday, while Illinois, Chicago and Chicagoland home sales are sitting well above their levels in 2011, year-over-year home prices are still falling significantly throughout the state.
Throughout our Midwest region, home prices actually rose 0.5 percent to $120,500 last month, while existing-home sales are now 13.3 percent higher than home sales in February 2011.
The South saw home prices and sales rise 0.6 and 1.8 percent respectively. The Northeast saw a drop in both home sales (-3.3 percent) and prices (-1.9 percent). The West dropped 3.2 percent in February home sales while its home prices rose 3.1 percent from a year ago.
“The bottom line is investors and first-time buyers are competing for bargain-priced properties in much of the country, with home prices showing signs of stabilizing in many areas,” said NAR President Moe Veissi.
“People realize that homeownership is an investment in their future. Given an apparent over-correction in most areas, over the long term home prices have nowhere to go but up.”