Although sales of existing homes declined in December, as most economists expected, sales for 2005 were 7.072 million, their fifth consecutive annual record, the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Jan. 25. Sales of existing homes last year were 4.2% higher than 2004's total of 6.784 million units.
December sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.6 million units, 5.7% below November's upwardly revised rate of 7 million units.
"The level of home sales activity is now at a sustainable level, and is likely to pick up a bit in the months ahead," believes David Lereah, NAR's chief economist. "Overall fundamentals remain solid, driven by population and employment growth as well as favorable affordability conditions in most of the country, so we expect the housing market to remain historically high but lower than last year's record."