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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Down Again
by Tom Moeller December 29, 2005

Total existing home sales fell for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors The 1.7% decline to 6.970M (AR) in November followed an unrevised 2.7% October drop that left sales 5.2% below the record level set in June. Consensus expectations for sales last month had been for less of a decline to 7.00M.

Sales of single-family homes fell another 1.9% on top of the 2.5% October fall to 6.110M. The latest level was down 4.4% from the June peak. Though sales of condos & co-ops were flat m/m, they are off 10.4% from the peak in June.

The data cover sales closed in the latest and previous months, and contrast to the new home sales data which count sales at the signing of a contract.

Single family home sales fell hardest m/m in the West where a 4.0% drop left sales 8.9% below the June peak. In the Northeast sales fell 1.2% after the 8.0% drop in October and in the South sales dipped just 0.4%.In the Midwest single family sales fell 2.8% (0.0% y/y), off 7.4% from the August peak.

The median price of an existing single-family home fell 1.5% m/m to $213,500 (+13.5% y/y). Prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The latest release from the National Association of Realtors is available here.

The Baby Boom: Predictability in House Prices and Interest Rates from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) Nov Oct Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Home Sales 6,970 7,090 -0.1% 6,723 6,170 5,653
  Single Family Home Sales 6,110 6,230 -0.5% 5,913 5,441 4,995
Single Family Median Home Price ($,000) $213.5 $21 6.7 13.5% $182.8 $169.1 $157.6
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