Home sales experienced just a slight dip across the nation as we began the new year according to a recent report released by the National Association of Realtors. However, of the four major markets across the United States, it was only the Northeast region that saw an increase in sales activity.

Total existing home sales are completed sold transactions of single family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops. For the month of January, there was a marginal decrease by only 1.2% from the month before in December.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says last month’s home sales of 4.94 million were the lowest since November 2015, but that he does not expect the numbers to decline further going forward. “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

Home prices had shown an increase in January by 2.8% over last year at the same time. This makes the 83rd month in a row for year over year gains for prices.

Yun notes that this median home price growth is the slowest since February 2012, and is cautions that the figures do not yet tell the full story for the month of January. “Lower mortgage rates from December 2018 had little impact on January sales, however, the lower rates will inevitably lead to more home sales.”

Available housing inventory had actually increased by the end of January which is interesting to note. The activity indicates that the market is headed back to a more normal pace after the holidays. Also, inventory levels were higher this January over January of 2018 at 1.59 million verses 1.53 million. Properties stayed on the market at an average of 49 days in January which was up from 46 in December with 38% of the homes sold in January being on the market for less than one month.