Price rises will slow throughout the year
By Peter Mindenhall

US Residential Sales Fall in January to 18-Month Low

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Sales numbers and prices in the US property market have enjoyed a very strong recovery from the previous property bubble in the last couple of years, but according to the latest release from the National Association of Realtors, 2014 could be the year that sales and prices start to rectify themselves, with January having already witnessed a drop in the number of sales compared to last year.

In fact, sales volumes for last month were the lowest they have been at any time in the last 18 months, the report from the National Association of Realtors said. Lawrence Yun, the organisation's chief economist, said that there were other factors involved as well in the latest figures and associated falls. "Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception. Some housing activity will be delayed until spring. At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates. These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact."

In January, the Association said, total existing home sales, which include the likes of single family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, fell by as much as 5.1 per cent to finish the month with some 4.62 million sales. This was compared to the 4.87 million homes that were bought and sold throughout December of 2013.

However, prices for homes still start the year at a far higher level than they were a year ago. Median prices are, as of the end of January, some 10.7 per cent higher than in the same month a year ago. Experts say that price rises will slow throughout the year, and with the number of homes being sold still down, it stands to reason that this will be the case as the year progresses.

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