WASHINGTON, March 20 U.S. home resales dropped
slightly in February to a 19 month-low as cold weather and a
shortage of homes for sale continued to sideline potential
The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday home
sales dropped 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.60 million
units, the lowest level since July 2012, and in line with
economists' expectations. January's sales pace was unrevised at
Even though temperatures remained chilly in February,
pinching sales, a modest improvement in inventory on the market
indicates buyers are expected to jump in soon.
"The weather surely cannot get any worse," NAR economist
Lawrence Yun told reporters. "The new supply will help tame
The median existing home price rose 9.1 percent in February
to $189,000 from the same month in 2013.
Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point in
the past year and the increase in house prices has far outpaced
income growth, making home-buying less affordable.
In addition, there has been a shortage of homes for sale on
the market. Home resales have declined in six of the last seven
months, having peaked in July.
The number of previously-owned homes available for sale at
the end of February represented a 5.1 months' supply, still
tepid but up from 4.9 months' worth in January. A healthy market
has about a six-to-seven month supply.
(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Paul Simao; )