Will the Housing Market Thaw Out This Spring?

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After posting the best year since before the housing bust, existing-home sales continued to decline last month and reached their worst level in 19 months. Further, housing affordability issues remain as home prices push higher.

The National Association of Realtors announced Thursday that total existing-home sales — which are completed transactions of single-family homes, town homes, condos, and co-ops — fell 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million units in February compared to 4.62 million units in the previous month. Sales have now declined six of the past seven months.

On the positive, the results were in-line with expectations, which is a pleasant surprise. Prior to February’s reading, sales missed estimates for seven consecutive months. However, existing-home sales are still 7.1 percent below the 4.95 million-unit level seen a year earlier. This is the fourth consecutive month that sales were below year-ago levels, and February was the slowest since July 2012, when sales stood at 4.59 million.

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