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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Down
by Tom Moeller October 25, 2006

Total existing home sales in September fell 1.9% to 6.18M from an unrevised August level, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline was the sixth in a row and the latest level fell short of Consensus expectations for 6.21M sales.

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

Sales of single-family homes fell 1.6% m/m in September to 5.42M and are down 14.4% from the peak in June of 2005.

Lower prices accompanied the decline in sales as the median price of an existing single-family home fell 1.9% after a deepened 3.0% August drop. The price figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Single family home sales fell hard last month in the Northeast (-11.8% y/y) and sales in the West fell as well (-24.7% y/y). A 3.2% decline in sales in the Midwest (-14.1% y/y) was offset by a slight 0.9% (-7.9% y/y) gain down South.

The inventory of unsold existing homes fell for the second month (+35.1% y/y). The supply of unsold single family homes fell 2.6% (+33.9% y/y) and the supply of condos & coops for sale slipped 1.4% m/m (+42.9% y/y).

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

A Supervisor's Perspective on Mortgage Markets and Mortgage Lending Practices, remarks by Fed Governor Susan Schmidt Bies, are available here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) September August Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,180 6,300 -14.2% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 5,420 5,510 -13.8% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price (000) $219.8 $224.0 -2.5% $217.5 $192.8 $178.3
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