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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Slip But Prices Rebound Further
by Tom Moeller  June 21, 2012

Sales of existing homes slipped 1.5% last month to a 4.550 annual rate (9.6% y/y) from an unrevised 4.620M during April. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 1.0% to 4.050M, up 10.4% y/y. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series). Sales of condos and co-ops fell 5.7% m/m to 0.500M, up 4.2% y/y.

Home prices have firmed with the rebound in sales. The median price of an existing home rose 5.1% (7.9% y/y) to $182,600. The m/m rise roughly matched that of the prior two months. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $250,700 was up 3.8% y/y. In the West, the median price rose 13.4% y/y to $233,900. In the South, the price of $159,700 was up 7.8% y/y and in the Midwest the price rose 6.4% y/y to $147,700.

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 6.5 but for condos & coops it fell to 6.7. The total number of homes on the market slipped 0.4% and was down 20.4% y/y. Inventories of single-family homes fell 18.5% 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 0.9% y/y in April but it's been down sharply in the last two months with the rise in home prices. Mortgage payments as a percent of income rose m/m to 13.4% versus the high of roughly 25% in 2006. The average monthly mortgage rate held at 4.04%.

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) May Apr Mar Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 4,550 4,620 4,470 9.6 4,283 4,181 4,329
 Northeast 590 620 590 7.3 544 563 580
 Midwest 1,040 1,030 1,020 19.5 920 908 975
 South 1,780 1,790 1,730 9.2 1,685 1,626 1,640
 West 1,140 1,180 1,130 3.6 1,133 1,083 1,134
Single-Family Sales 4,050 4,090 3,970 10.4 3,797 3,704 3,868
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 182,600 173,700 164,800 7.9 164,542 172,442 172,783
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