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Median home prices rose to their highest level since 2007 last year and home sales picked up.
Meanwhile, the number of home sales for the year declined 3.1 percent. But despite low inventories, the number of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops that sold in December 2014 rose 2.4 percent from November and were up 3.5 percent compared with December 2013.
The lack of homes for sale could cause problems for first-time buyers struggling to afford homes, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs — both rents and home prices — continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a downpayment while looking for available homes in their price range.”
The percentage share of first-time buyers dropped to 29 percent in December, down from 31 percent in November, but up from a year ago (27 percent).
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