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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Drop
by Tom Moeller   November 23, 2010

The National Association of Realtors reported that October sales of existing homes fell 2.2% to 4.430M following an unrevised 10.0% September increase. October sales fell short of Consensus expectations for 4.48M. Total sales include sales of condos and co-ops. Sales of existing single-family homes alone slipped 2.0% (-25.6% y/y) from September to 3.89M. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series.) Sales of condos and co-ops fell 3.6% m/m but remained down 27.6% from last year.

The median price of all existing homes slipped 0.6% m/m to $170,500, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Though prices remained off one- quarter from the 2007 peak, they have risen 3.6% from the February low. The price of a single-family home fell 0.8% to $171,100 (-0.5% y/y). Earlier price weakness sharply raised home affordability by more than two-thirds from the 2006 low. Also of help was a drop in the monthly mortgage to a new low of 4.68%. The median family income for existing home buyers was $61,395 and mortgage payments amounted 14.0% of that total.

The number of unsold homes (single-family & co-ops) for sale fell in October to 3.864 mil. but were up 8.4% y/y. At the current sales rate, the months' supply of homes on the market slipped m/m to 10.5, just off the record high. For single-family homes, the inventory held steady m/m at a 10.1 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.

Existing Home Sales (Thous, SAAR)  Oct   Sep   Aug  Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Total 4,430 4,530 4,120 -25.9 5,160 4,893 5,674
 Northeast 750 760 690 -27.2 863 845 1,010
 Midwest 940 950 830 -32.4 1,166 1,130 1,331
 South 1,710 1,770 1,600 -24.0 1,913 1,860 2,243
 West 1,030 1,050 1,000 -21.4 1,216 1,064 1,095
Single-Family Sales 3,890 3,970 3,610 -25.6 4,573 4,341 4,960
Median Price, Total, $(NSA) 170,500 171,700 177,500 -0.9 172,742 197,233 216,633
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