The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on Wednesday that the U.S. existing home sales surged 3.6 percent m-o-m to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.54 million in December from an unrevised 5.35 million in October. That was the highest level since February 2018.
Economists had forecast home resales increasing to a 5.43 million-unit pace last month.
In y-o-y terms, existing-home sales climbed 10.8 percent in December.
On a full-year basis, total existing-home sales ended at 5.34 million, the same level as in 2018.
According to the report, single-family home sales stood at 4.92 million in December, up from 4.79 million in November, and up 10.6 percent from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $276,900 in December 2019, up 8.0 percent from December 2018. Meanwhile, existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 units in December, up 10.7 percent from November and 12.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $255,400 in December, which is a surge of 6.0 percent from a year ago.
Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, noted that home sales fluctuated a great deal last year. "I view 2019 as a neutral year for housing in terms of sales," Yun said. "Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren't as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most."
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