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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Fall And Prices At Ten-Year Low
by Tom Moeller  March 21, 2011

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes fell during February to 4.880M (AR), from a revised January reading of 5.400M, initially reported at 5.560M. The last was well short of Consensus expectations for 5.14M sales according to Action Economics. Total sales include sales of condos and co-ops. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 9.6% (-2.7% y/y) from January to 4.250M. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series.) Sales of condos and co-ops rose 4.7% m/m (7.9% y/y).

The inventory of unsold homes rose 3.5% m/m but was down modestly y/y. It was down one-quarter from the 2008 high and amounted to an 8.6 months' supply.

The median price of all existing homes fell 1.1% m/m to $156,100. Prices reached the lowest level in exactly ten years. The price of a single-family home slipped 0.9% last month to $157,000 (-4.2% y/y). Price weakness has raised home affordability to another record high, up more than two-thirds from the 2006 low. 

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability can be found in Haver's USECON database. The regional price, affordability and inventory data are available in the REALTOR database. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Existing Home Sales (Thous, SAAR) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Total 4,880 5,400 5,220 -2.8 4,918 5,149 4,894
  Northeast 770 830 870 -8.3 825 863 848
  Midwest 1,010 1,150 1,120 -9.0 1,076 1,168 1,128
  South 1,840 2,050 1,950 0.0 1,861 1,907 1,857
  West 1,260 1,370 1,270 2.4 1,155 1,214 1,062
Single-Family Sales 4,250 4,700 4,580 -2.7 4,311 4,559 4,337
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 156,100 157,900 168,800 -5.2 172,442 172,742 197,233
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