Inside the Release: December Existing-Home Sales in Charts

What a difference a month makes.

After dropping to the slowest pace since April 2014 (4.76 million), existing-home sales in December rebounded substantially, posting the best monthly increase (14.7%) of all time.

Why the volatility? The delayed closings from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe initiative suppressed November’s figure and instead carried those closings into December. NAR Research’s Ken Fears broke down the overall impact of November’s delayed transactions in a blog post earlier this morning.

For all of 2015, December’s robust bounce back capped off the best year of existing sales (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million). Will the trend continue in 2016?

According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, although some growth is expected, the housing market will struggle in 2016 to replicate last year’s 7 percent increase in sales because of insufficient supply, tepid economic expansion, rising mortgage rates and decreasing demand for buying in oil-producing metro areas.

Check out the charts below for housing activity last month and over the past year: