Sales of previously owned US homes rebounded in February to fastest pace in almost a year, topping estimates and snapping a three-month streak of declines to offer a robust indication that the housing market is stabilising after last year’s slump.
Contract closings increased 11.8 percent, the most since 2015, from January’s pace to a 5.51 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey that had called for 5.1 million. The median sales price climbed 3.6 percent from a year earlier.
The surprisingly strong gain, which was driven entirely by single-family homes, indicates that the lowest mortgage rates in a year, resilient consumer sentiment, and the Federal Reserve’s pledges to remain patient on interest-rate increases are helping to stabilise housing markets after sales tumbled in 2018.
Single-family home sales jumped 13.3 percent to a 4.94 million pace amid strong gains in the South and West. The pace of condo sales was unchanged at 570,000. It may take some time to determine whether the rebound is sustainable or mainly reflected a boost on pent-up demand from buyers who were waiting for more attractive mortgage rates.