Having tumbled 10.5 percent in November, the seasonally adjusted pace of existing-home sales in the U.S. surged 14.7 percent in December to an annual rate of 5.46 million, up 7.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

As we noted last month, the November tumble was due in part to delayed closings as lenders adjusted to new mortgage disclosure rules and the carryover from November likely drove the December surge, as occurred locally as well.

The median sale price in December was $224,100, up 1.7 percent from $220,300 in November and 7.6 percent higher versus $208,200 in December 2014. The median remains 5.2 percent below the record $236,400 set in June.

In terms of inventory, the number of unsold homes on the market across the country dropped 12.3 percent to 1.79 million homes at the end of December, driven by the withdrawal of unsold listings but also 3.8 percent lower versus the same time last year.

The pace of existing-home sales in the West surged 23.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million sales in December, 8.9 percent higher versus December 2014. 

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