ECON: Existing Home Sales In Line With Expectations
- Sales at 4.92 mln annual rate vs 4.90mln consensus
- Inventory at 1.74 mln units, lowest since 1999
- 4.2 months of inventory at current pace, lowest since 4/2005
- 23 pct of existing home sales were distressed
Existing-home sales edged up in January, while a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise steadily above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors . Sales rose in every region but the West, which is the region most constrained by limited inventory.
Total existing-home sales , which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, and are 9.1 percent above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said tight inventory is a major factor in the market. "Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady," he said. "In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We've transitioned into a seller's market in much of the country."