According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes climbed in February; what’s more, month-over-month sales recorded the highest increase since December 2005. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, several factors led to the impressive rise in sales including “a powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income, and higher consumer confidence.”
Buyer Traffic Is Up
One way to measure the number of buyers looking for homes is to measure the opening rate of SentriLock key boxes. These boxes feature a key access to unlock a home, and their software can measure the number of times the boxes are opened. Data from the SentriLock boxes showed more activity in the first two months of 2019 when compared to the second half of 2018. In short, more buyers are viewing homes.
Homeowners Are Building Equity
Buyers who are looking to enter the housing market appear to be making a wise investment. The typical homeowner built roughly $8,700 in equity in their home over the past year; over the past 24 months, their equity climbed to $21,300. While the current boost to inventory will help more buyers purchase a home and start to build equity, more needs to be done in terms of improving new housing numbers. According to Yun, “More construction will help boost local economies, and more home sales will help lessen wealth inequality as more households can enjoy in housing-wealth gains.”
Northeast - Existing-home sales annual rate of 690,000; no change from January, but an increase of 1.5 percent from February 2018.
Midwest - Existing-home sales annual rate of 1.27 million; an increase of 9.5 percent from January, but no change from February 2018.
South - Existing-home sales annual rate of 2.39 million; an increase of 14.9 percent from January, but a decrease of 0.4 percent from February 2018.
West - Existing-home sales annual rate of 1.16 million; an increase of 16 percent from January, but a decrease of 7.9 percent from February 2018.
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