Sales of previously owned homes surged in January to the fastest pace since May 2010 in another sign that the housing market is finally making some headway against its longest downturn since the Great Depression.
The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that existing-home sales — the lion’s share of the housing market — rose 4.3 percent in January. The equates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million homes, which is still well below the 6 million pace that economists say is needed for a healthy housing market.
Last month, there were 2.31 million unsold homes on the market last month, the lowest since March 2005. That represented a 6.1 months’ supply at January’s sales pace, the lowest since April 2006 and down from 6.4 months in December.
A supply of 6 months is generally considered ideal. But the median sales price fell 2 percent to $154,700 in January from a year ago.