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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise While Prices Improve
by Tom Moeller  May 22, 2012

Sales of existing homes rose 3.4% last month to a 4.620 annual rate (10.0% y/y) from a revised 4.470M during March, last month reported as 4.480M. Sales of existing single-family homes alone increased 3.0% last month to 4.090M, up 9.9% y/y. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series). Sales of condos and co-ops increased 2.3% m/m to 0.450M, up 7.1% y/y.

The median price of an existing home rose 7.6% (10.1% y/y) to $177,400. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $256,600 was up 8.8% y/y. In the West, the median price rose 15.9% y/y to $221,700. In the South, the price of $153,400 was up 8.0% y/y and in the Midwest the price of $141,400 rose 7.4% y/y.

The months' supply of homes on the market ticked up to 6.6 but still was near the lowest since March, 2006. The months' supply of single-family homes on the market rose to 6.6 but for condos & coops it slipped to 6.9. The total number of homes on the market rose 9.5% but still was down 20.6% y/y to still near the lowest since 2005. Inventories of single-family homes fell 18.8% y/y while inventories of multi-family homes were off nearly one-third.

Reported earlier this month, the composite index of home price affordability rose 11.0% y/y in March to nearly another record high as mortgage payments as a percent of income held at 12.2% versus the high of roughly 25% in 2006. The average monthly mortgage rate slipped to 4.0%.

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) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 4,620 4,470 4,600 10.0 4,283 4,181 4,329
 Northeast 620 590 590 19.2 544 563 580
 Midwest 1,030 1,020 1,020 14.4 920 908 975
 South 1,790 1,730 1,770 6.5 1,685 1,626 1,640
 West 1.180 1,130 1,220 7.3 1,133 1,083 1,134
Single-Family Sales 4,090 3,970 4,070 4.9 3,797 3,704 3,868
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 177,400 164,800 156,600 10.1 164,542 172,442 172,783
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