Existing Home Sales Fall Unexpectedly

by Christopher Freeburn | January 22, 2013 12:08 pm

home for sale[1]Home sales dipped last month[2], surprising economists.

Data released on Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors showed that existing home sales were down 1% in December, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million homes. Economists had anticipated a rate of 5.1 million units, Reuters noted.

Despite the drop, existing home sales still scored their second-highest annual sales pace in three years. Existing home inventories also declined to 1.82 million, down 8.5% compared to November, and down 21.6% from December 2011.

At the current sales pace, it would take 4.4 months to deplete the current supply of existing homes.

Prices for existing homes in December rose 11.5% over the prior year to a median of $180,800. Sales of distressed properties rose from 22% in November to 24% last month, but that was still less than the 32% of sales in December 2011.

The news didn’t do much to help homebuilder stocks. Shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL[3]) and Ryland Group (NYSEL:RYL[4]) slipped fractionally in Tuesday midday trading, while D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI[5]) shares fell more than 1%.

  1. [Image]: https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/homeForSale.jpg
  2. dipped last month: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/us-usa-economy-idUSBRE90E0KL20130122
  3. TOL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TOL
  4. RYL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=RYL
  5. DHI: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=DHI

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