Source: India Today —
US existing home sales plunged to a 12-year low in December, but declining mortgage rates raised cautious optimism that the embattled housing market could be close to finding a floor.
The report from the National Association of Realtors on Friday also showed the median house price increasing at the slowest pace since early in the Covid-19 pandemic as sellers in some parts of the country resorted to offering discounts.
The Federal Reserve’s fastest interest rate-hiking cycle since the 1980s has pushed housing into recession.
“Existing home sales are somewhat lagging,” said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York. “The decline in mortgage rates could help undergird housing activity in the months ahead.”
Existing home sales, which are counted when a contract is closed, fell 1.5 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million units last month, the lowest level since November 2010. That marked the 11th straight monthly decline in sales, the longest such stretch since 1999.
Sales dropped in the Northeast, South and Midwest. They were unchanged in the West. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast home sales falling to a rate of 3.96 million units. December’s data likely reflected contracts signed some two months earlier.
Home resales, which account for a big chunk of US housing sales, tumbled 34.0 per cent on a year-on-year basis in December. They fell 17.8 per cent to 5.03 million units in 2022, the lowest annual total since 2014 and the sharpest annual decline since 2008.