Existing home sales slowed in February and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said the recent rise in interest rates may have already knocked some buyers out of the market. Home builders, however, revved up their production as the spring market neared. NAR said sales of pre-owned single-family homes, townhouses, condos and coop apartments were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million units, a decline of 7.2 percent from January and 2.4 percent below the rate a year earlier. Single-family sales fell 7.0 percent to a 5.35 million annual rate and condo sales plunged 9.5 percent. Sales of the two subsets of housing were down 2.2 and 4.3 percent respectively from the prior February. [existinghomesdata] The median existing-home price for all housing types sold in February was $357,300, a 15.0 percent markup from February 2021. The median price for a single-family home rose 15.5 percent to $363,800 and condos sold at a median of $305,400, a 10.9 percent gain. February brought the unbroken streak of appreciation to 120 months, the longest in NAR’s records. “Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge, as buyers are getting a double whammy : rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Some who had previously qualified at a 3 percent mortgage rate are no longer able to buy at the 4 percent rate.” “Monthly payments have risen by 28% from one year ago,” Yun continued, “which interestingly is not a part of the consumer price index – and the market remains swift with multiple offers still being recorded on most properties.”

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