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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Decline As Expected
by Tom Moeller June 27, 2006

Total existing home sales fell 1.2% during May to 6.670M following a little revised 2.2% decline during April. Consensus expectations had been for sales of 6.62M and the figures were reported by the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of single-family homes fell 1.5%, down for the fourth month this year. The data cover sales closed in the latest and previous months and contrast to the new home sales (up in May) data which count sales at the signing of a contract.

In May sales of existing single family homes were down 8.1% versus the peak last June and for the first five months of this year were off 4.0% from the 2005 average.

Sales were weakest last month in the Northeast which posted a 4.8% drop (-5.9% y/y) and in the Midwest where they fell 4.3% (-5.6% y/y). In the South (-2.8% y/y) and in the West (-14.1% y/y), May sales were unchanged from the prior month.

The median price of an existing single-family home rose 3.2% (6.4% y/y). The price figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The inventory of unsold existing homes rose 5.5% and was up 41.0% from one year earlier. The supply of unsold single family homes was up 36.3% y/y and the supply of condos & coops for sale was up 73.0%.

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

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) May April Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,670 6,750 -6.6% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 5,820 5,910 -6.6% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price (000) $229.7 $222.6 6.4% $206.3 $182.8 $169.1
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