Home re-sales in the U.S. feel steeply to a low of nine months during January amidst a limited supply of properties on offer, a setback that could temper expectations for an increase in housing activity for 2015.
On Monday, the National Association of Realtors announced that existing homes sales fell by 4.9% to an annualized rate of just over 4.81 million units, its lowest level since April of 2014.
The drop in sales, which took place across the four regions, came even though the rate of 30-year mortgages fell to a low of 20 months. The drop was worse than the expectation of economists that was a pace of 4.96 million units.
Tight inventories have hurt sales due to a limited selection of available houses for potential buyers. The lack of available homes is also preventing the prices of homes from increasing, helping to keep first time buyers from entering the market.
Hope exists that tightening of the labor market will spur on wage growth and pull on more first time buyers. However, unless there is a substantial increase in the amount of homes listed for sale, the recovery of the housing market could stay sluggish.
The housing market has remained behind the overall economic recovery as home sales increased just 3.2% from the same period a year ago.
Last month, the unsold homes inventory on the market dropped 0.5% from the same period one year ago to just over 1.86 million. It is the second consecutive year on year drop. According to the group, supply should rise by a minimum of 10%.
Economists and realtors said that a lack equity and the uncertainty of the strength of the economy forced potential sellers to remain in their homes.
A new survey of the NAR showed that homeowners are staying on average in their homes 10 years, which is three years more than the norm of 7 years.