Existing home sales decreased by one percent in December of 2012, a modest decline that comes amid other relatively good news about the real estate market, demonstrating that the housing crisis may be easing its grip on Florida and the rest of the nation.
While sales dropped slightly, home prices continued to increase due to the limited supply of for-sale homes that can't keep up with consumer demand. Overall, December's seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million homes was only slightly less than November's rate of 4.99 million.
Even better, those sale figures were 12.8 percent greater than they were in December 2011.
One economist pointed to the record low mortgage rates that were helping to incentivize home buyers into releasing their pent-up urge to purchase a home.
But the inventory of homes for sale also shrank away from its ideal figures. Realtors prefer to have a six-month supply of homes to ensure balance on the market. In November, the span was at about 4.8 months, but in December it declined to 4.4 months.
Sellers will be encouraged to know that homes are sitting on the market for shorter periods than ever before. In December, 31 percent of all homes sold had been on the market for less than one month.
Overall, the numbers show positive growth from 2011 to 2012. Home values in that span have also increased by 11.5 percent, based on the sale prices of homes sold in December 2012.
Improved job growth and greater fiscal confidence is also pushing consumers to pull the trigger on home purchases, and the recovery is very tangible after a six-year drought.
Source: USA TODAY, "December home sales slip; up 12.8% in 2012," Julie Schmidt, Jan. 22, 2013