After Two Months of Gains, Existing-Home Sales Decline in February

David Deem

February experienced a decline in existing-home sales after two months of gains, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Year-over-year, existing-home sales increased 9.1%; however, since last month, total existing-home sales decreased 6.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.22 million.
Single-family homes also decreased, by 6.6% since January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million. This is up, however, by 8% YoY. For condos and co-ops, existing-home sales decreased 6.7% from January and increased 18.6% YoY.

By Region:

Existing-Home Sales: 1.31 million (+2.3% YoY)
Median Price: $231,800 (+14.2% YoY)
Existing-Home Sales: 770,000 (+13.2% YoY)
Median Price: $356,000 (+20.5% YoY)
Existing-Home Sales: 2.77 million (+9.9% YoY)
Median Price: $271,200 (+13.6% YoY)
Existing-Home Sales: 1.37 million (+12.3% YoY)
Median Price: $493,300 (+20.6%YoY)

How the Industry Is Responding:
"Despite the drop in home sales for February—which I would attribute to historically-low inventory—the market is still outperforming pre-pandemic levels. I still expect this year's sales to be ahead of last year's, and with more COVID-19 vaccinations being distributed and available to larger shares of the population, the nation is on the cusp of returning to a sense of normalcy. Many Americans have been saving money and there's a strong possibility that once the country fully reopens, those reserves will be unleashed on the economy. Home affordability is weakening. Various stimulus packages are expected, and they will indeed help, but an increase in inventory is the best way to address surging home costs." — Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of REALTORS®
"This year, we've seen fair housing protections extended, recognized REALTORS®' remarkable volunteerism, and are collaborating with policymakers to increase revitalization endeavors in numerous neighborhoods. We have made an incredible amount of notable progress thus far in 2021, and NAR is committed and encouraged to continue those efforts." — Charlie Oppler, President, National Association of REALTORS®
"Existing-home sales fell in February, likely due to both the impact of the severe winter storms in the South, and the continuing lack of inventory that is frustrating the home searches of prospective buyers. The supply-demand imbalance has led to a sharp run-up in home prices, with the median sales price up almost 16% nationally, and almost 21% in the West.
"MBA's purchase applications data has indicated that there is still strong demand for homes. This is being driven by an improving job market and strong demand from first-time homebuyers, as well as mortgage rates—which remain quite low from a historical perspective, even with the recent increases. MBA's forecast is for home sales to increase this year, and we are anticipating a strong spring housing market. However, this is dependent on both builders ramping up production, and current owners listing their homes for sale. The lack of inventory on the market is preventing home sales from being much higher." — Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Association
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