NAR: Investors, cash deals boost January real estate sales

Plans to rebenchmark home sales data won't affect monthly trends

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Sales of existing homes edged up for a third month in a row in January as sales of distressed properties, investor purchases and all-cash deals picked up from December, the National Association of Realtors said today.

Sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops were up 2.7 percent from December, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million homes, NAR said.

That’s up 5.3 percent from a year ago — the first year-over-year increase in sales since last spring, when sales were boosted by the federal homebuyer tax credit.

At $158,800, the national median price for all housing types was down 3.7 percent from a year ago, with distressed properties accounting for 37 percent of all sales. The median price of a single-family home was down 2.7 percent, to $159,400.