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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Are Down Again
by Tom Moeller July 22, 2010

Sales of existing homes continued to suffer with the expiration of a Federal home-buyer tax credit. Existing home sales fell 5.1% to 5.370M last month after a smaller 2.2% May decline, according to the National Association of Realtors. Nevertheless, June sales were better than Consensus expectations for sales of 5.10M. Total sales include sales of condos and co-ops. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 5.6% from May to 4.70M. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series). Sales of condos and co-ops rose 32.6% from last year. 

The median price of all existing homes rose in June to $182,700 from a downwardly revised May level. Though prices remained off roughly 25% from the 2007 peak they have risen 11.6% from the February low. The price of a single-family home rose 2.6% to $180,100 (-1.4% y/y). Earlier price weakness sharply raised home affordability -- by three-quarters from the 2006 low. The recent rise in home prices lowered homes' affordability by 7.0% versus one year ago. The median family income for existing home buyers was $60,498 and mortgage payments amounted to 15.4% of that total.

The number of unsold homes (single-family & co-ops) for sale ticked up m/m and remained up 4.7% y/y. At the current sales rate there was an 8.9 months' supply of homes on the market. That was down from a high of 10.1 months during April of 2008. For single-family homes, the inventory rose m/m to a 8.7 months' supply, the highest since June of last year. 

Using Stock Market Liquidity to Forecast recessions from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here here.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability can be found in Haver's USECON database. The regional price, affordability and inventory data is available in the REALTOR database

Existing Home Sales (Thous, SAAR) June May April June Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 5,370 5,660 5,790 9.8% 5,160 4,893 5,674
  Northeast 960 890 1,090 17.1 863 845 1,010
  Midwest 1,230 1,330 1,330 11.8 1,166 1,130 1,331
  South 2,010 2,150 2,140 11.0 1,913 1,860 2,243
  West 1,170 1,290 1,230 0.9 1,216 1,064 1,095
Single-Family Sales 4,700 4,980 5,060 8.5 4,573 4,341 4,960
Median Price, Total, $ (NSA) 183,700 174,600 172,300 1.0 172,742 197,233 216,633
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