Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

December 2019 Existing-Home Sales

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this December increased 3.6%. December’s sales of existing homes surged 10.8 % from December 2018. December’s existing-home sales reached a 5.54 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales December 2018 to December 2019

The national median existing-home price for all housing types reached $274,500 in December, up 7.8 percent from a year ago. This is the strongest growth since January 2016. This marks the 94th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: Sales Price of EHS by Region December 2019 and December 2018

Regionally, all four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago. The Midwest had the largest gain of 9.2% followed by the West with an increase of 8.1%. The Northeast had an increase of 7.4% and the South had the smallest gain of 6.7% from December 2018.

December’s inventory figures were down 14.6% from last month standing at 1.40 million homes for sale. Compared with December of 2018, inventory levels were down 8.5%. This would mark seven straight months of year-over-year declines and is a record-setting low since 1999.1 It will take 3.0 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 41 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, down from 46 days a year ago.

Bar chart: Inventory, December 2018 to December 2019

From November 2019, three of the four regions showed increases in sales. The Midwest had the only drop in sales at 1.5%. The Northeast had the biggest gain in sales at 3.6% followed by the South with an increase of 5.4%. The West had the smallest increase of 4.6%.

From a year ago, all four regions showed increases in sales. The South had the biggest increase in sales of 12.4%. The West had a gain of 10.7% followed by the Midwest with an increase of 9.2%. The Northeast had the smallest gain in sales at 8.8%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 42.6 % of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 13.4%.

Bar chart: Regional Sales December 2019 and December 2018

In December, single-family sales were up 2.7% and condominiums sales were up 10.7% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were up 10.6% while condominium sales were up 12.7% compared to a year ago. Single-family homes had an increase in price up 8.0% at $276,900 and condominiums rose 6.0% at $255,400 from December 2018.

1 January 1999 is the start of the data series on inventory of total existing homes (single-family and condominiums/coops) for sale.