February Housing Sales Surprise With Upswing

The REAL Trends Housing Market Report for February 2015 shows that housing sales increased 6.6 percent from the same month a year ago. All four regions reported unit sales had increased from a year ago, a drastic change from the previous month’s decline in housing sales in three out of four regions.


The annual rate of new and existing home sales for February 2015 was 5.495 million units up from a rate of 5.156 million in February 2014.

Housing prices rose an average of 2.9 percent from February 2014, a slight decrease from the average price change in January 2015. Price increases have settled to a mid-single–digit growth rate for the past seven months.


“February housing sales were surprisingly higher than expected after the sluggish January report,” said Steve Murray, editor of the REAL Trends Housing Market Report. “Units sales were up five points higher than the January results. While the average price of homes sold was only up slightly over the prior year, this is good news as slower price increases will raise affordability. Should these trends continue it could mean far stronger sales in the months ahead.”

Housing unit sales for February 2015 increased 12.9 percent in the Northeast, the best performance in all regions. Midwest sales were up 7.3 percent, the South saw unit sales increase by 6.7 percent, and the Western region saw unit sales increase by 2.3 percent.

The average price of homes sold in February 2015 in the Midwestern region increased by 7.9 percent, the best result in the nation. The West saw average prices rise 4.9 percent, average prices in the South were up 4.4 percent, and the Northeast was the only region that experienced a decrease in average price of homes sold with -4.8 percent.

“While the job market remains strong-average, household incomes continue to show sluggish growth. The private market for mortgages is less stringent than it was in the past. However, many of the major lenders remain wary of adopting looser underwriting standards. So, while there has been a pick up in first-time homebuyer activity, it is not expected to return to normal historical levels of activity,” Murray says.


REAL Trends February/January Housing Market Report
(Versus same month a year ago)


   Feb.
 2015
 Feb.
2015
 Jan.
 2015
Jan.
2015

 Closed Sales
 Average Price
 Closed Sales
Average Price
National
 +6.6%  +2.9%  +1.3%  +5.1%
Regional
       
Northeast
 +12.9%  -4.8%  -3.8%  +0.5%
South  +6.7%  +4.4%  +5.8%  +6.1%
Midwest  +7.3%  +7.9%  -1.0%  +6.3%
West  +2.3%  +4.9%  -0.7% +8.7%
 


This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2015.

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