Reclaiming Common Sense

Strong December Real Estate Sales - Best Year Since 2006

The Monthly Existing Home Sales Report was released by the REALTORS this Friday.  Despite record low inventory, or in spite of record low inventory, December was the best December for existing home sales since December 2004 and the best end of year sales level since 2006. We also have the lowest existing home inventory ever recorded since 1999.

December Existing Home Sales hit 537,000 units this month. The best December ever was 2004 with 546,000 units. This is a huge spike of 22.73% from the December 2019 level of 434,000.

The Average Sales Price this month hit $342,400. This was a spike of 10.1% from last December's $311,000 and comparable to the record high of $344,700 set just this past October.

The end of year sales number came in at 5.643 million units. We had 5.34 million units sold during 2019. The last time we had a level of sales this high was 2006 with 6.478 million units. This means that this was the best annual sales level since President George W Bush was in office.

Existing Home Inventory fell below 1 million units for the first time ever, It was thought that 2 million units was good. We dropped below 1.9 million during December 2014. We dropped below 1.5 million units for the first time ever during December of 2017. Last year we dropped further to 1.385 million units. This month we are down to 949,000 units, condominiums and single family houses combined. This is a paucity of inventory. This column has written articles on the December inventory for years. This is nothing new.

We had nine months this year where the sales exceeded their 2019 counterparts. The only months that did not beat their 2019 levels were April, May, and June of 2020. No matter how you look at the data the housing recession lasted one quarter, so it really wasn't a recession. Recessions normally last two or more quarters.

What does this mean to you? This year may be the year to prep your home for sale. Inventory has been dropping since December 2014, comparing same month data. Prices have been rising since 2011. Even if you bought your home during the peak unit year of 2005, or the peak sales price 2006, you should be able to sell at a profit this year. Remember that all real estate is local.

Home values change by state, city, school district, neighborhood, and style of home or condominium. Price is determined by a buyer that does not have to buy and a seller that does not have to sell. A home's value is determined by price, condition, location. Yes, the price that you obtain is determined by the price at which you list your home for sale. Some homes are overpriced, some are underpriced, some are priced just right. Contact one or more REALTORS® familiar with your community to help determine your list price.

It's the Economy.

Copyright ©2021 “Existing-Home Sales Rise 0.7% in December, Annual Sales See Highest Level Since 2006” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. January 22, 2021,