December Home sales in the US fall to a nearly 18% drop in 2022

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LOS ANGELES (TBEN) — Sales of pre-occupied homes in the US fell nearly 18% in 2022, the slowest year for the housing market in nearly a decade.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that existing home sales totaled 5.03 million last year, down 17.8% from 2021. That’s the weakest year for home sales since 2014 and the biggest annual decline since 2008, following the late-2000s foreclosure crisis.

Still, the median national home price rose 10.2% for the entire past year to $386,300, according to the NAR.

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Mortgage rates will more than double in 2022, rising to a two-decade high of 7.08% in the fall as the Federal Reserve continued to raise its key lending rate in its bid to cool the economy and curb inflation. Home sales slowed from a torrid pace at the start of the year as rising borrowing costs limited the purchasing power of house hunters.

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The average 30-year mortgage rate fell to 6.15% this week, the lowest level since September, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Still, it remains nearly double the average rate of 3.56% a year ago.

Existing home sales fell for an 11th straight month in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million, the NAR said. That’s slightly better than what economists had expected, according to FactSet.

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Sales in December were down 34% from a year earlier. Excluding the strong sales slowdown that occurred in May 2020 near the start of the pandemic, sales fell last month to their lowest annual rate since November 2010.

Despite the slowdown, house prices continued to rise last month. The national median home sales price rose 2.3% in December from a year earlier to $366,900, the NAR said.

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