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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Down
by Tom Moeller August 23, 2006

The National Association of Realtors reported that total existing home sales fell 4.1% during July to 6.330M, the fourth consecutive m/m decline. The decline compared to Consensus expectations for a lesser decline to 6.55M.

Sales of single-family homes fell 5.0%, the sixth m/m decline this year. Versus the first seven months of 2005 sales this year are down 5.4%.

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.

Sales in the Northeast fell 8.5% m/m (-12.8% y/y) and in the Midwest sales fell 6.7% (-11.3% y/y). In the South sales slipped 2.1% (-6.9% y/y) and in the West (-14.1% y/y) sales dropped 6.3% (-18.4% y/y).

The median price of an existing single-family home ticked up 0.5% m/m and prior year's figures were revised up. The price figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The inventory of unsold existing homes surged another 3.2% (39.9% y/y). The supply of unsold single family homes rose 2.5% (40.4% y/y) and the supply of condos & coops for sale rose 7.3% m/m (36.9% y/y).

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

Reflections on monetary policy: Flexibility, transparency and inflation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is available here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,330 6,600 -11.2% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 5,510 5,800 -11.4% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price (000) $231.2 $230.1 1.5% $217.5 $192.8 $178.3
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