Existing home sales plummet in December

What will the ongoing government shutdown mean for future sales?

After seeing gains in previous months, existing home sales dropped suddenly in December, seeing double-digit losses from the year before.

Both October and November saw gains in existing home sales, but that all changed in December, according to the latest Existing Home Sales report from the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 6.4% from November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.99 million sales in December. This is down a full 10.3% from December 2017’s 5.56 million sales.

Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale explained this is the first time in three years that existing homes sales slipped below the 5 million mark.

Due to the ongoing government shutdown, some might wonder what the effect has been on real estate, and if it is to blame for the decrease in home sales. NAR explained that it did not, saying, “The partial shutdown of the federal government has not had a significant effect on December closings,” said NAR President John Smaby.

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