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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Weaken As Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  July 19, 2012

Sales of existing homes fell 5.4% last month to a 4.370 annual rate (4.5% y/y) from an upwardly revised 4.620M during May. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 5.1% to 3.900M, up 4.8% 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.

Despite fewer sales, prices firmed. The median price of an existing home rose 5.0% (7.9% y/y) to $189,400. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $253,700 was down 1.8% y/y. In the West, the median price rose 13.3% y/y to $233,300. In the South, the price of $165,000 was up 6.6% y/y and in the Midwest the price rose 8.4% y/y to $157,600.

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 slightly to 6.5 but for condos & coops it was stable m/m at 6.8. The total number of homes on the market fell 3.2% m/m and was down by one quarter y/y. Inventories of single-family homes fell 23.7% 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 4.1% y/y in May but it's been down sharply in the last three months with the rise in home prices. Mortgage payments as a percent of income rose m/m to 13.6% versus the high of roughly 25% in 2006. The average monthly mortgage rate fell to 3.92%.

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) Jun May Apr Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 4,370 4,620 4,620 4.5 4,283 4,181 4,329
 Northeast 540 610 620 1.9 544 563 580
 Midwest 1,020 1,040 1,030 14.6 920 908 975
 South 1,730 1,810 1,790 5.5 1,685 1,626 1,640
 West 1,080 1,160 1,180 -3.6 1,133 1,083 1,134
Single-Family Sales 3,900 4,110 4,090 4.8 3,797 3,704 3,868
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 189,400 180,300 173,700 7.9 164,542 172,442 172,783
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