House money chalkboard

Despite a weak December ending a trend of two straight months of increases, there were still more existing homes sold last year than in any year since 2006.

The most recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows that existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.1% in 2017 to a 5.51 million sales pace.

That bests 2016’s total of 5.45 million and becomes the highest that figure has been since 2006, when there were 6.48 million existing homes sold.

This increase is in spite of December being an underwhelming month for existing home sales.

According to the NAR report, existing home sales fell in December by 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million from a downwardly revised 5.78 million in November.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that the housing market performed “remarkably well” in 2017, with “substantial” wealth gains for homeowners and “historically low” distressed property sales.

“Existing sales concluded the year on a softer note, but they were guided higher these last 12 months by a multi-year streak of exceptional job growth, which ignited buyer demand,” Yun said. “At the same time, market conditions were far from perfect. New listings struggled to keep up with what was sold very quickly, and buying became less affordable in…