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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller  October 21, 2011

The National Association of Realtors reported that September sales of existing homes slipped 3.0% to 4.910M (AR, +11.3% y/y) following an upwardly revised 8.4% August increase, last month reported as 7.7%. The y/y comparison remained positive because of last year's decline after the ending of the first-time home buyers tax credit. The latest reading roughly matched Consensus expectations for 4.90M, according to Action Economics. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 3.6% m/m to 4.330M, up 12.2% y/y. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series). Sales of condos and co-ops rose 1.8% m/m to .560M (8.3% y/y).

The months' supply of homes on the market was roughly constant at 8.5, nearly the lowest since March. The months' supply of single-family homes on the market held at 8.2 but for condos & coops it was 11.0 months. The total number of homes on the market fell 13.0% y/y. Inventories of single-family homes fell 11.2% but multi-family home inventories were off twice that.

The median price of all existing homes fell 3.4% m/m to $165,400 (-3.5% y/y) from an upwardly-revised $171,200. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $229,400, down -3.3% y/y, compared to a price in the West of $207,400, off 4.5% y/y. In the South, the price of $144,400 was down 3.0% y/y and in the Midwest the price of $137,400 fell a lesser 1.4% y/y.

As a result of price weakness, the composite index of home price affordability rose 6.9% y/y. Mortgage payments as a percent of income were 13.6% versus the high near 25% in 2006.

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. 

Unemployment, the Labor Market and the Economy is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo and it can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (Thous, SAAR) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Total 4,910 5,060 4,670 11.3 4,918 5,149 4,894
  Northeast 790 770 750 6.8 825 863 848
  Midwest 1,090 1,100 1,050 17.2 1,076 1,168 1,128
  South 1,890 1,940 1,840 10.5 1,861 1,907 1,857
  West 1,140 1,250 1,040 10.7 1,155 1,214 1,062
Single-Family Sales 4,330 4,490 4,120 12.2 4,311 4,559 4,337
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 165,400 171,200 171,200 -3.5 172,442 172,742 197,233
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