Housing market: U.S. existing home sales rise in February, snap losing streak

Yahoo Finance Live’s Julie Hyman breaks down U.S. existing home sales for February.

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: But we've got some breaking economic data. And I'll toss it on over to Julie with that.

JULIE HYMAN: Yes, we do. We're talking about existing home sales here rising, snapping a long, long losing streak. Up 14.5% in February. Remember, these are a bit of a lagging indicator. 14.5% in February to an annual pace of $4.58 million.

The losing streak that had been ongoing for existing home sales, it had been going on for a long time. A record decline in terms of the number of months. And now, we are seeing this biggest advance since mid-2020, that 14.5% increase. So quite interesting here.

The National Association of Realtors' chief economist saying, conscious of changing mortgage rates, homebuyers are taking advantage of any rate decline. So we have seen rates come down a little bit, Brad. And it sounds like that is drawing some people back into the market. Really interesting here.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, and the price at which the buyers are paying and where they're coming in to some of the financing options that are out there, which of course, elevated from a few years back. But at this point, as you continue to watch closely what the median home price-- existing home sales price is, that's where you might start to get a little bit more of an inclination for buyers to start to come back. And for sellers as well to list those.

JULIE HYMAN: And guess what? There was a decline in the median selling price. The first time in 11 years that we've seen a decline. The decline wasn't big. It was only 2/10 of 1%. But the median selling price of a previously owned home now $363,000. So again, down 0.2% year-over-year. The first decline in 11 years.

BRAD SMITH: It's huge.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah. It's surprising. It's surprising and interesting given this environment because there's still not a lot of inventory on the market. The number of homes for sale at 980,000, which would take 2.6 months to sell all of the homes in the market. Anything below five months is still a tight market. And just anecdotally, it sounds like inventory still pretty tight out there. Anyway, it's interesting stuff.

BRAD SMITH: Well, yeah, it is. And it sets up for what we're gonna get later on this week. We're gonna get some new home sales data as well. For that, it might be interesting to track or a big week just to keep a close eye on the home builders ETF for the X-- the S&P 500 XHB, which actually took a little bit of a move higher even on this existing homes data by about 1/2 a percent here, so.

JULIE HYMAN: Interesting.

BRAD SMITH: Just you can watch that as we move on throughout the rest of the week as well.