Existing home sales increased 0.4% in January from a downwardly revised level in December, and were up 9.1% from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that January 2013 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.92 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. That compares to 4.90 million units in December, and 4.41million units during the same period a year ago.
The January 2013 level of single-family existing sales increased 0.2% from December to a seasonally adjusted 4.34 million sales, and was up 8.5% from the same month a year ago. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales rose 1.8% from December to a seasonally adjusted 580,000 units, and were up 13.7% from the same period a year ago.
The total housing inventory at the end of January decreased 4.9% from the previous month to 1.74 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales rate, the January 2013 inventory represents a 4.2-month supply compared to a 4.5-month supply in December, and a 6.2-month supply of homes a year ago. The January housing supply is the lowest since the 4.2-month supply reported in April 2005. Some 23% of sales in January 2013 were distressed, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 24% in December and 35% during the same month a year ago. The median sales price for existing homes of all types in January 2013 was $173,600, down 3.7% from $180,200 in December, but up 12.3% from the same period a year ago. NAR reported that January represented the eleventh consecutive monthly year-over-year price increase, which last occurred from July 2005 to May 2006.
In January 2013, all cash sales were 28% of transactions compared to 29% in December, and 31% in January 2012. Investors accounted for 19% of January 2013 home sales, compared to 21% in December and 23% a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 30% of January 2013 sales, the same as in December and down from 33% during the same period a year ago.