Home sales in the Wichita area got a late boost in 2014.
According to a South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service report released Wednesday, home sales in December rose 13 percent compared to December 2013.
For the year, home sales increased at 2.3 percent compared to 2013.
The report said 728 existing and new houses were sold last month. That compares to 642 in December 2013.
In 2014, 9,183 existing and new houses were sold, compared with 8,980 in 2013.
The area’s total number of houses sold in 2014 was at its highest level since 2008, when 10,037 homes were sold, according to historical data provided by the MLS.
“I’m excited about our increase,” said Chonci Lekawa, Wichita Area Association of Realtors president and real estate consultant at Re/Max Premiere. “It shows that we’re headed in the right direction.”
The numbers also speak to the health of the local economy, said Gary Walker, vice president and general manager of J.P. Weigand & Sons’ residential division.
“We hear about the recovery nationally, but these figures support the recovery that is taking place locally,” he said.
Walker said the fourth quarter provided a strong boost to the year; several months ago, he expected to end the year below the level of home sales in 2013.
“What happened was, October and December were better months than we had anticipated,” he said. “I think that’s where the big difference is. You don’t expect those kind of months in the fourth quarter.”
In October, existing and new home sales totaled 809, compared with 712 in October 2013, according to the MLS report.
The December MLS report said 8,558 existing homes and 624 new homes were sold in 2014. That compares with 8,425 existing and 550 new homes sold in 2013.
At the end of the year, housing inventories were mixed, the report said. There were five months of inventory for new houses and 3.7 months for existing houses. Five to six months of housing inventory is considered a balanced market. Less than five months of inventory is considered a seller’s market.
“I know that our inventory is lower than what we had, but that’s typical over the holidays,” Lekawa said.