Existing-home sales rose by 0.6% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales rose year-over-year, up 23.7% from January 2020. First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in January, up from 31% in December 2020 and 32% in January 2020.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, states that improving economic conditions, additional stimulus and vaccine distribution will continue to incentivize buyers. “Home sales continue to ascend in the first month of the year, as buyers quickly snatched up virtually every new listing coming on the market,” he said. “Sales easily could have been even 20% higher if there had been more inventory and more choices.”

The total housing inventory was 1.04 million units, down 1.9% from December and down 25.7% from one year ago (1.40 million). The median home price was $303,900, up 14.1% from January 2020. This increase marks 107 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in January, equal to December’s percentage but down from 2% in January 2020.

Read the NAR release.