Existing home sales jumped slightly in February despite the cold and snow that hit a good portion of the country.
The latest report from the National Association of Realtors shows a rise of 1.2% to an annual rate of 4.88 million homes in February. Sales were led by single family homes, the market’s largest part. “After the spate of weaker housing data over the last two months, it was nice to see a bounce back in existing home sales in February,” said TD economist Thomas Feltmate. “While winter still managed to rear its head in both the Northeast and Midwest, we expect declines in those regions to be paid back with faster growth over the coming months.”
The uptick was off from estimates by TD and MarketWatch economists, who were looking for a number between 4.90 and 4.94 million sales for February.
Higher prices held some buyers back, with the median sale averaging $204,200, up 8.2% from a year ago. Condo and co-op sales remained steady with an average price of $190,200. That price is up 2.8% from last year. Feltmate said new construction took a bite out of the multi-family market, “The pullback in multifamily prices last month - decelerating from 5.3% to 2.8% year-over-year - appears to be an inventory story, as the supply of multifamily existing homes increased by a whopping 1.1 months in February.”
Total inventories of existing homes rose 1.6% to 1.89 million units, a 4.6 month supply and down .5% from last year.
First time buyers accounted for 29% of transactions, and Feltmate calls the affordability of homes “favorable,” with the 30-year fixed conventional mortgage rate currently sitting in around 3.75%.
Although, some economists think affordability will take a hit if the Fed hikes the interest rate as has been predicted to happen something during the summer.