Existing home sales continued their downward trend for the 12th month in a row, reports the National Association of Realtors.

The seasonally-adjusted rate for all existing-home sales totalled 4.00 million in January – down 36 percent year-over-year and 0.7 percent less than December. Though all four regions in the United States reported sales declines on an annual basis, the South and West registered monthly increases of 1.1 and 2.9 percent respectively.

“Home sales are bottoming out,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Prices vary depending on a market’s affordability, with lower-priced regions witnessing modest growth and more expensive regions experiencing declines.”

Nationwide, the median price of a home in January was $359,000, a 1.3 percent increase from the same time last year.

Total inventory rose by 2.1 percent from the previous month to 980,000 units. Unsold inventory totalled 2.9 month’s supply – the same as December, but up by 1.6 months compared to January 2022.

“Inventory remains low, but buyers are beginning to have better negotiating power,” Yun said. “Homes sitting on the market for more than 60 days can be purchased for around 10 percent less than the original list price.

On average, properties remained on the market for 33 days in January. However, 54 percent of homes sold during the month were on the market for less than 30 days.

However, as the average number of days on the market increased – signalling less competition for homes – first-time buyers had better luck with the homebuying process than they did last year.

By the end of the month, first-time buyers made up 31 percent of January’s home sales.

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