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US existing home sales drop to lowest level in 3 years
HOUSTON, February 22, 2019 (PCW) – US home sales dropped in January to their lowest level in more than three years. House prices rose only modestly, suggesting a further loss of momentum in the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that existing home sales dropped 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units in January. That was the lowest level since November 2015; December’s sales pace was revised slightly higher.
The drop in January followed months of weakness in the US housing market. Existing home sales were down 8.5% from a year ago. Existing home sales fell in three of the country’s four major regions, rising only in the Northeast.
There were 1.59 million previously owned homes on the market in January, up from 1.53 million in December. At January’s sales pace, it would take 3.9 months to exhaust the current inventory, up from 3.7 months in December. A supply of six to seven months is viewed as a healthy balance between supply and demand.
The National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday that homebuilder sentiment improved in February from 58 up to 62 and was three points ahead of consensus expectations. For some perspective, the last time homebuilder sentiment saw a month-over-month increase of four points was in December 2017. -- Donna Todd