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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Bounce Off Of All-Time Low
by Tom Moeller   September 23, 2010

Sales of existing homes recovered slightly last month following the expiration of the Federal home-buyer tax credit. August sales of existing homes increased 7.6% to 4.13M following a 27.0% July decline that was revised slightly shallower than reported initially, according to the National Association of Realtors. August sales were slightly better than Consensus expectations for 4.10M. Total sales include sales of condos and co-ops. Sales of existing single-family homes alone rose 7.4% (-19.2% y/y) from July to 3.62M. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series.) Sales of condos and co-ops rose 8.5% m/m but remained down 17.1% from last year.

Despite signs of sales improvement, the median price of all existing homes fell 1.9% m/m to $178,600. Though prices remained off nearly 25% from the 2007 peak, they have risen 8.3% from the January low. The price of a single-family home fell 2.0% to $179,300 (+1.2% y/y). Earlier price weakness sharply raised home affordability -- by more-than-half from the 2006 low, though very recent price improvement has stalled. The median family income for existing home buyers was $60,498 and mortgage payments amounted to15.5% of that total.

The number of unsold homes (single-family & co-ops) for sale slipped in August but were up 1.5% y/y. At the current sales rate, the months' supply of homes on the market also slipped m/m but was near the record at 11.6. For single-family homes, the inventory also slipped m/m to an 11.3 months' supply.

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.

The Monetary Base and Bank Lending: You Can Lead a Horse To Water ... also from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here here.

Existing Home Sales(Thous, SAAR) August July June August Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 4,130 3,830 5,260 -19.0% 5,160 4,893 5,674
  Northeast 680 630 880 -24.4 863 845 1,010
  Midwest 840 800 1,230 -26.3 1,166 1,130 1,331
  South 1,620 1,540 1.990 -13.4 1,913 1,860 2,243
  West 990 870 1,160 -26.1 1,216 1,064 1,095
Single-Family Sales 3,620 3,370 4,620 -19.2 4,573 4,341 4,960
Median Price, Total, $ (NSA) 178,600 182,100 183,000 0.8 172,742 197,233 216,633
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