Existing Home Sales Rise To The Highest Level Since 2006

Total home sales in 2020 were the most since the housing bubble that preceded the great recession.

Annual Sales See Highest Level Since 2006

The National Association of Realtors reports existing home sales rose 0.7% in December, with Annual Sales See Highest Level Since 2006

Five Key Highlights 

  1. Existing-home sales totaled 5.64 million in 2020, up 5.6% from 2019 and the most since before the Great Recession.
  2. The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $309,800, up 12.9% from December 2019 ($274,500), as prices increased in every region. December's national price increase marks 106 straight months of year-over-year gains.
  3. Total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.07 million units, down 16.4% from November and down 23% from one year ago (1.39 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 1.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.3 months in November and down from the 3.0-month figure recorded in December 2019. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.
  4. Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in December, seasonally even with November and down from 41 days in December 2019. Seventy percent of the homes sold in December 2020 were on the market for less than a month.
  5. First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, unchanged from the same time in 2019, but down from 32% in November 2020. NAR's 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20204 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%.

"Home sales rose in December, and for 2020 as a whole, we saw sales perform at their highest levels since 2006, despite the pandemic," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "What's even better is that this momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market."

Seasonal Adjustments 

The chart shows the impact of seasonal adjustments. The total for 2020 was 5.64 million units, but the reported total for December alone was 6.76 million on a  seasonally-adjusted annualized basis.

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