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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales and Prices Weaken Unexpectedly
by Tom Moeller  August 24, 2016

Sales of existing homes declined 3.2% (-1.6% y/y) during July to 5.390 million units (AR) after an unrevised June rise to 5.570 million. The decline erased the increases during the prior three months. Expectations had been for 5.53 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes fell 2.0% last month (-0.8% y/y) to 4.820 million. Sales of condos & co-ops dropped 12.3% (-8.1% y/y) to 570,000, the lowest level since February. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes eased 1.4% to $244,100 (+5.3% y/y) from $247,600. Annualized growth in prices has been roughly steady for the past two years, but falls short of the double-digit increases in 2013. The average price of an existing home declined 1.3% to $285,900 (+3.6% y/y).

Weakness in sales occurred in most regions of the country. Home sales in the Northeast sales declined 13.2% (-5.7% y/y) to 660,000 units, the lowest level since February. Midwest home sales of 1.280 million were off 5.2% and were unchanged y/y. Home sales in the South declined 1.8% to 2.220 million, the lowest level in three months. To the upside were sales in the West. The 2.5% increase to 1.230 million (-0.8% y/y) left them at the highest level since September.

The number of existing homes on the market declined 5.8% y/y to 2.130 million. The months' sales supply of homes eased to 4.7, about where it's been for three years.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability can be found in Haver's USECON database. The regional price, affordability and inventory data are available in the REALTOR database. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jul Jun May Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 5,390 5,570 5,510 -1.6 5,254 4,935 5,087
   Northeast 660 760 770 -5.7 691 645 658
   Midwest 1,280 1,350 1,300 0.0 1,240 1,136 1,201
   South 2,220 2,260 2,260 -1.8 2,151 2,051 2,040
   West 1,230 1,200 1,180 -0.8 1,172 1,103 1,188
Single-Family 4,820 4,920 4,880 -0.8 4,626 4,344 4,484
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 244,100 247,600 238,900 5.3 219,867 206,708 195,667
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