Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

January 2020 Existing-Home Sales

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this January declined 1.3% from December 2019. January’s sales of existing homes improved 9.6 % from January 2019. January’s existing-home sales reached a 5.46 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Line graph: US Existing-Home Sales January 2019 to January 2019

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $266,300 in January, up 6.8 percent from a year ago. This marks the 95th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: Sales Price of EHS January 2020 and January 2019

Regionally, all four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest gain of 11.5% followed by the South with an incline of 6.3%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.4% and the West region, where it's most expensive, had the smallest gain of 5.2% from January 2019.

January’s inventory figures were up 2.2% from last month standing at 1.42 million homes for sale. Compared with January of 2019, inventory levels dropped 10.7%. This would mark eight straight months of year-over-year declines and is a record-setting low since 1999.1 It will take 3.1 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 43 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, down from 49 days a year ago.

Bar chart: Inventory January 2019 to January 2020

From December 2019, two of the four regions showed inclines in sales while the Northeast was flat. The West region had the only decline in sales of 9.4%. The Midwest had the biggest gain in sales at 2.4% followed by the South with a modest incline of 0.4%.

From a year ago, all four regions showed inclines in sales. The South had the biggest incline in sales of 11.7%. The Midwest had a gain of 8.4% followed by the West with an increase of 8.2%. The Northeast had the smallest gain in sales at 7.4%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 43.6 % of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 13.4%.

Bar chart: Regional Sales January 2020 and January 2019

In January, single-family sales were down 1.2% and condominiums sales were up 1.6% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were up 9.7% while condominium sales were up 8.9% compared to a year ago. Single-family homes had an increase in price up 6.9% at $268,600 and condominiums rose 5.7% at $248,100 from January 2019.

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