Despite a strong second half of the year, Existing Home Sales, as compiled by the National Association of Realtors,® were down 3.1% from 2013-2014. The volume drop can be attributed to low inventory and sharply higher prices — the median home sale price rose 5.8%. That price increase, however, should have been offset by continuing record low mortgage rates.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales picked up in December to close a 2014 that got off to a sluggish start but showed encouraging signs of activity the second half of the year. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated and economic growth accelerated,” he said. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8 percent compared to the first six months of the year.”
Existing-home sales in the West jumped 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December, and are 2.8% above a year ago. The median price in the West was $299,600, which is 5.6% above December 2013.