According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales rose 5 percent in December and were 3.6 percent higher than in December 2010. This is the third consecutive month that existing-home sales have improved.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said these are early signs of what may be a sustained recovery. “The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery,” he said. “Record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices are giving more consumers the confidence they need to enter the market.”
Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 9.2 percent to a 6.2-month supply at the current sales pace. Available inventory has trended down since setting a record in July 2007, and is at the lowest level since March 2005.
“The inventory supply suggests many markets will see prices stabilize or grow moderately in the near future,” Yun said.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 10.7 percent in December and are 3.3 percent above a year ago.
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