Key Highlights

  • Existing sales in December 2019 up +3.6% from November 2019 and a whopping +10.8% from December 2018
  • Pending sales dropped -4.9% in December 2019 from November 2018 but up +4.6% from December 2018.
  • Median single-family home price stood at $274,500 in December 2019, +7.8% from December 2018

Existing single-family home sales in December 2019 increased +3.6% m/m, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The eye-popper, according to NAR, was the year/year increase of +10.8% from December 2018.

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Inventory was also eye-popping but in a negative way. There were only 1.4M for-sale homes in December 2019, a drop of -14.6% from November 2019 and a drop of -8.5% from December 2018.

Regionally, existing home sales in December 2019 looked like…

  • Northeast – +5.7% from November 2019 and +8.8% from December 2018. Median home price came in at $304,400.
  • Midwest – -1.5% from November 2019 but +9.2% from December 2018. Median home price came in at $208,500,
  • South – +5.4% from November 2019 and +12.4% from December 2018. Median home price of $240,500. an increase of +6.7% from last year
  • West – +4.6% from November 2019 and +10.7% from December 2018. Median home price of $411,800, an increase of +8.1% from last year

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) was a disappointing -4.9% in December 2019. On the positive side, however, contract signings rose +4.6%.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with NAR, said, “Mortgage rates are expected to hold under 4% for most of 2020 and job creation will likely exceed 2M. Due to the shortage of affordable homes, home sales growth will only rise by around 3%. Still, national median home price growth is in no danger of falling due to inventory shortages and will rise by +4%. The new home construction market also looks brighter, with housing starts and new home sales set to rise +6% and +10% respectively.”

The nation’s most affordable markets (Fort Wayne IN, Burlington NC, Topeka KS, Pueblo CO and Columbus OH) are drawing the most buyer attention. Yun commented, “The state of housing in 2020 will likely depend on whether home builders bring more affordable homes to the market. Home prices and even rents are increasing too rapidly…more inventory would correct the problem and slow price gains.”

Regionally, all pending home sales indices were down in December 2019:

  • Northeast – -4.0% m/m and -0.1% compared to one year ago
  • Midwest – -3.6% m/m and +1.3% from December 2018
  • South – -5.5% m/m and +7.4% from December 2018
  • -5.4% m/m and +7.0% from one year ago

Thanks to HousingWire and the National Association of REALTORS® for source data.

Also read: Bidding Wars Hovering at 10-Year Lows, Buyers Out of Hibernation Early, Millennials Kick up Homeownership Rates But Remain Overwhelmed by Buying Process