Existing home sales inched forward last month, but the same could not be said of housing inventory, which remained 26% lower than last year. Closed sales for existing homes increased 0.6% last month from December, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Despite record-low inventory, with only 1.04 million homes for sale at the end of January, sales were 23.7% higher than January 2020 levels, making it the second-highest sales pace since 2006. NAR’s chief economist told CNBC that both the upcoming stimulus checks and the availability of several vaccines, housing will remain strong this year.
There were 1.04 million homes for sale at the end of January, a 26% drop from a year ago. At the current sales pace, there is now a 1.9-month supply, the lowest since the Realtors began tracking this metric in 1982. One year ago there was more than a 3-month supply.
The lack of supply in the face of strong demand continues to push prices higher and higher. The median price of an existing home sold in January was $303,900, a 14.1% increase from January 2020. That is the highest January price that the Realtors have ever recorded.