The numbers: Sales of existing homes in the US rose 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said on Friday. Compared to a year ago, home sales increased 23.7%. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had predicted that existing home sales would fall at an average rate of 6.66 million.
What happened: The median price of existing homes increased to $ 303,900 in January, up 14.1% from a year ago. The inventory of homes for sale fell to a record low of 1.04 million units at the end of January. That’s a 25.7% year-over-year decrease. The market had a 1.9-month supply of homes for sale. A 6-month supply is considered a sign of a balanced market. The Big Picture: Economists believe low mortgage rates will continue to drive demand for housing in the coming months. Buyers are also looking for more space and more remote locations in the wake of the pandemic. What the NAR said: “Home sales continue to increase in the first month of the year as buyers quickly seized virtually every new property coming on the market. Sales could easily have been even 20% higher if there had been more inventory and more options, ”said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. Market reaction: US stocks opened higher on Friday with the S&P 500 SPX Index, + 0.24% to 10.9 points after falling in the last three trading sessions.