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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Up
by Tom Moeller March 23, 2006

The National Association of Realtors reported that total existing home sales rose 5.2% m/m to 6.910M last month following a 2.7% January decline that was about half the drop initially estimated. Consensus expectations had been for sales last month of 6.50M.

Sales of single-family homes rose 4.7% after a 1.2% January decline that was revised from -6.8% reported initially. 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.

February single family home sales rose sharply in the Northeast (+2.4% y/y). Sales in the Midwest also were strong (+2.1% y/y) and sales in the West rose for the first month in six (-10.9% y/y). Sales in the South fell m/m but rose y/y by 4.2%.

The median price of an existing single-family home fell 0.5%. At $208,500 the median price is 5.1% below the August peak. Prices are not seasonally adjusted.

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

The Road to Price Stability from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) Feb Jan Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,910 6,570 -0.3% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 6,060 5,790 -0.2% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price ($,000) $208.5 $209.6 11.6% $206.3 $182.8 $169.1
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