Sales of existing U.S. homes rose in December, pushing sales for 2013 to the highest level in seven years, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
Home sales rose 1 percent November to December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million in December, the trade group said. November's annual rate was adjusted lower to 4.82 million and December's sales pace was a 0.6 percent drop compared to December 2012, when the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 4.9 million homes.
Still, for 2013, there were 5.09 million sales of existing homes, a 9.1 percent gain over 2012 and the highest level since 2006, when sales of existing home was at an "unsustainably high 6.48 million," NAR said.
NAR said the median price of a home in all of 2013 was $197,100, 11.5 percent above the median price for 2012, and the highest annual gain since 2005, when the median prices for the year climbed 12.4 percent.
The trade group said there is a 4.6-month supply of homes on the market, with unsold inventory 1.6 percent above a year earlier, when the supply of listed homes represented a 4.5-month supply.
Existing home sales slid 1.5 percent November to December in the Northeast to an annual rate of 640,000, which is 3.2 percent higher than December 2012. In the Midwest in December, sales fell 4.3 percent month-to-month to an annual pace of 1.11 million, which is 0.9 percent below December 2012.
In the South, month-to-month sales rose 3 percent to an annual rate of 2.03 million, a jump of 8.9 percent from December 2012. In the West, sales rose 4.8 percent from November to an annual pace of 1.09 million, a 10.7 percent drop from a year earlier.