Home sales soar – or do they?

Last month, when commenting on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report on existing homes sales which generated headlines relating to a sales “plunge” I posted Home sales plunge – or do they?, referring to the fact that delays in closings occurred in November after the implementation of new mortgage disclosure rules, the effect of which was to push some sales into December.

So what happened in December? Existing-home sales “soared 14.7 percent” to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December from 4.76 million in November.

What really happened?
Let’s ignore the fluctuations late in the year and look at 2015 as a whole:
– sales of SFHs were up 7% YOY and the median price increased 8%
– sales of condos increased 12% YOY and the median price was up 5%

The NAR commented: “In addition to insufficient supply levels, the overall pace of sales this year will be constricted by tepid economic expansion, rising mortgage rates and decreasing demand for buying in oil-producing metro areas.”

It is only fair to point out that the NAR has been forecasting that mortgage rates would increase for the last 2-3 years. Note also that these are national statistics and that “all real estate is local.” In the Northeast we benefit from lower oil prices in the form of reduced utility and gas (car) bills.

Click on Existing home sales surge back in December to read the full report.

If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com.

Read Which broker should I choose to sell my home?

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated

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