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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Inch Up
by Tom Moeller November 28, 2006

Total October existing home sales inched up 0.5% to 6.24M from a slightly higher revised September level, according to the National Association of Realtors. The m/m increase was the first since February and was firmer than Consensus expectations for a decline to 6.15M 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 reversed nearly all of the prior month's decline with a 1.3% increase to 5.50M but remained down 13.1% from the peak in June of 2005.

The median price of an existing single-family home edged up 0.1% (-3.4% y/y) to 221,300 after two months of hefty decline. The price figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Most of last month's rise in single family home sales was due to a 7.1% (-18.8% y/y) recovery in sales in the West. Sales also ticked up 0.8% (-10.7% y/y) in the Midwest. In the Northeast sales slid another 1.3% (-7.5% y/y) and down South sales slipped 0.9% 9-7.6% y/y).

The inventory of unsold existing single family homes increased 1.9% (32.7% y/y) after two months of decline and rose to 7.2 months' supply on the market.

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

The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy from Charles I. Plosser President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) October September Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Home Sales  6,240 6,210 -11.5% 7,064 6,722 6,176
  Single Family Home Sales 5,500 5,430 -11.0% 6,170 5,912 5,443
Single Family Median Home Price (000) $221.3 $221.1 -3.4% $217.5 $192.8 $178.3
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