Total home sales in the Wichita area fell in January, according to a South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service’s report released Thursday.
The report said 514 new and existing homes were sold last month, seven fewer than in January 2013. The total of homes sold was hurt most by sales of existing homes. A 6 percent decline in the sale of existing homes in January – to 468 from 497 – accounted for the overall drop in sales.
But that loss was offset by a big increase in new home sales, which totaled 46 in January, compared with 19 in the same month a year ago.
Tim Holt, a broker at Golden Realtors, thinks home sales were affected by two factors last month: the weather and thin inventory of existing homes priced between $100,000 and $150,000.
“It’s taking longer to find buyers homes they want because they don’t have as much choice,” Holt said.
The frigid, snowy and sometimes icy weather also likely slowed the house-buying process.
Overall, a previously tight inventory of existing homes eased in January, according to the MLS. The months of inventory was 5.7 in January for existing houses. A months-of-inventory figure between five and six months indicates a balanced home sales market that favors neither the buyer nor seller. In December, the area’s months of inventory was 4.6 months.
Inventory for new houses also rose, from 4.8 months in December to 6.2 months in January.
Holt said he thinks the slide in existing home sales will be short-lived.
January is historically one of the slowest months for home sales, he said.
“We’ll see it start picking up in February, March,” he said. “Normally the best months are in April, May and June. That’s kind of a trend.
“I think we’ll have a good year.”