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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Increased Unexpectedly
by Tom Moeller April 25, 2006

Total existing home sales rose 0.3% to 6.920M last month following a 5.0% spurt during February that was revised down slightly from the initial figure. The gain reported by the National Association of Realtors contrasted to Consensus expectations for a decline to 6.69M.

Sales of single-family homes rose 0.3% after a 4.5% jump during February that was little revised. 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.

In the Northeast, sales posted a strong gain for the second consecutive month (6.0% y/y) and rose to a record high level. Sales in the Midwest also rose, but moderately (3.6% y/y), while sales out West fell 2.3% and were 16.2% below the peak last June. Sales in the South also fell for second consecutive month (+2.1% y/y).

The median price of an existing single-family home rose a slight 0.2% following four consecutive months of decline. Past price levels were, however, upwardly revised though at $217,300 the median price still was 5.4% below the August peak. Prices are not seasonally adjusted.

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

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) Mar Feb Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,920 6,900 -0.7% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 6,070 6,050 -0.5% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price (000) $217.3 $216.8 7.8% $206.3 $182.8 $169.1
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