Gold Prices Remain Down As Existing Home Sales Fall 6.4% In December
(Kitco News) - Gold prices remain under modest pressure after fewer U.S. consumers shopped around for existing homes, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Existing home sales decreased 0.6 last month to a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 4.99 million units, compared to Novemberâ€™s annualized rate of 5.33 million homes, the association said on Monday. The data significantly missed expectations as economists were calling for only a slightly decline to 5.27 million units.
This is the slowest sales pace since March 2016. The report added that existing home sales are down more than 10% for the year.
Gold prices were largely unchanged after the data was released, with February gold futures last seen trading at $1,281.20, down 0.11% on the day.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says current housing numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018.
“The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates. Softer sales in December reflected consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today,” he said. “Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring.”
Looking at prices, the NAR said that the median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $253,600, up 2.9 percent from December 2017.
At the same time, housing inventory declined to 1.55 million, down from 1.74 million existing homes available for sale in November, representing a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace.