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Existing-Home Sales Hit 13-Year High

Existing-home sales in the U.S. jumped to a 13-year high in February; however, the gains should be taken with a grain of salt as the data was collected before the coronavirus became so widespread. Sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops increased 6.5% from January, according to the National Association of Realtors. February was the eighth consecutive month of growth in year-over-year sales, which were up more than 7% from February 2019.

"I would attribute [February's sales numbers] to the incredibly low mortgage rates and the steady release of a sizable pent-up housing demand that was built over recent years," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a release. "These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales."

The median sale price increased 8% from February 2019, which is the 96th straight month with a year-over-year increase. Properties were only on the market for 36 days, down from 43 days in January and 44 days from February 2019. But, nearly half of homes were on the market for less than a month.

A report from Wells Fargo Securities states "closings reportedly slowed abruptly during March. … The sudden stop of economic activity and sharp equity market selloff is giving buyers pause. There are anecdotal reports from all over the country of sellers canceling open houses and buyers walking away from closings, which should show up next month."

-Michael Miller, managing editor

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Monday, 30 March 2020