Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

December 2020 Existing Home Sales Annual Pace Rises to 6.76 Million

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this December rose modestly 0.7% from November 2020. December’s existing-home sales reached a 6.76 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, and rose 22.2% from December 2019. The pandemic took some steam out of a typically busy first quarter in 2020, then robust sales followed to close out the year. Total existing-home sales rose to 5.64 million in 2020, up 5.6% from the prior year, with all regions showing sales gains. The annual sales figure is the highest level since 2006 when existing home sales totaled 6.477 million.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales, December 2019 to December 2020

The national median existing-home price for all housing types rose to $309,800 in December, up 12.9% percent from a year ago. Home prices have continued to escalate, and this marks the 106th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Median Sales Price of Existing-Home Sales, December 2020 and December 2019

Regionally, all four regions showed double-digit price growth from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest gain of 19.0% followed by the West with an incline of 14.2%. The Midwest showed an increase of 13.7% and the South had the smallest price gain of 11.3% from December 2019.

December’s inventory figures dropped 16.4% from last month standing at 1.07 million homes for sale. Compared with December of 2019, inventory levels dropped 23.0%. This would mark 19 straight months of year-over-year declines. It will take 1.9 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace.

It takes approximately 21 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market. A year ago, it took 41 days.

Bar chart: Inventory, December 2019 to December 2020

From November 2020, two of the four regions had inclines in sales, while the West was flat. The Northeast had the largest gain of 4.5% followed by the South with an incline of 1.1%. The West had had the only decline of 1.4%.

From a year ago, all four regions showed double-digit inclines in sales. The Northeast region had the largest gain of 27.4%. The Midwest had an increase in sales of 26.2% followed by the South with a rise of 26.2%. The West had the smallest gain of 17.9%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 42.3% of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 13.8%.

Bar chart: Regional Existing-Home Sales and Year-Over-Year Percent Change, December 2020 and December 2019

In December, single-family sales were up 0.7% and condominiums sales were up 1.4% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were up 22.8% while condominium sales were up 17.7% compared to a year ago. The median sales price of single-family homes rose 13.5% at $314,300 from December 2019, while the median sales price of condominiums rose 6.9% at $272,200.

Line graph: Single Family vs. Condo Price Month-Over-Month Percent Change, January 2019 to December 2020
Line graph: Single Family vs Condo Price Year-Over-Year Percent Change, January 2019 to December 2020

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