But the rebound in sales failed to cause more people to put their homes on the market. Sales listings have tumbled 8.5% from a year ago to 1.4 million properties. There are just 3 months' supply of single-family houses for sale, the lowest level since the Realtors began tracking the number in 1982. Inventories have fallen at all price levels below $1 million for the past year.
The median sales price has jumped 7.8% over the past year to $274,500. Home values have increased at more than double the pace of wage growth, making it harder for would-be buyers to save enough money for a down payment.
In December, sales rose in the Northeast, South and West. But sales fell in the Midwest, which is generally a more affordable market.