US property sales continued to rise in the US with February showing an increase for the fifth straight month.
A report from the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales jumped 1.2 per cent in February 2015. Sales were 4.7 per cent higher compared to February 2014, the fifth month in a row of year-on-year increase.
Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 1.6 per cent to 1.89 million existing homes, according to NAR, 0.5 per cent lower than one year ago. The combination of tight supply and rising demand pushed up house prices. The median existing-home value climbed 7.5 per cent year-on-year in February 2015 to reach $202,600, the 36th month of price rises in a row and the largest rise since February 2014.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there had been some stagnation in the market in recent months: “Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels.”
“Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity, but it continues to be an obstacle for current buyers looking to close before rates rise.”
The relatively slow increase in sales, though, reveals a slowdown in some areas, as the Northeast and Midwest regions saw buyers hindered by the severe, below-freezing winter weather.
“With all indications pointing to a rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year â perhaps as early as this summer â affordability concerns could heighten as home prices and rents both continue to exceed wages,” Mr Yun said.