Economists at Econoday expected a bounce to 5.04 million sales at a seasonally-Adjusted annualized rate (SAAR). Instead, sales fell to 4.94 million from a revised 5.00 million units.
The biggest disappointment of the 2018 economy was the nation's housing sector and the first definitive indication on 2019 is not favorable. Existing home sales fell 1.2 percent in January to a 4.940 million annualized rate that is near the low end of Econoday's consensus range. Sagging permits for single-family homes were cited in Wednesday's FOMC minutes and resales in this report are also down, 1.8 percent lower to a 4.370 million rate. Condo resales, up 3.6 percent at a 570,000 rate, helped offset some of the month's weakness.