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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Nudge Higher But Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller  August 22, 2012

Sales of existing homes rose 2.3% last month to a 4.470M annual rate last month. That made up roughly half of June's unrevised decline. Expectations were for 4.50M sales. Sales of existing single-family homes alone rose 2.1% to 3.980M, up 9.9% y/y. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series). Sales of condos and co-ops rose 4.3% m/m to 0.490M, up 14.0% y/y.

The median price of an existing home slipped 0.8% (+9.4% y/y) to $187,300. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $254,200 was up 3.5% y/y. In the West, the median price rose 24.5% y/y to $238,600. In the South, the price of $162,600 was up 6.6% y/y and in the Midwest the price rose 5.8% y/y to $154,100.

The supply of homes on the market was roughly constant at 6.4 months, but still was near the lowest since March 2006. The months' supply of single-family homes on the market slipped to 6.3 but for condos & coops it rose m/m to 7.4. The total number of homes on the market rose 1.3% m/m but was down by one quarter y/y. Inventories of single-family homes fell 21.3% y/y while inventories of multi-family homes were off by more than one-third.

Reported earlier this month, the composite index of home price affordability fell sharply in the last four months with higher home prices and interest rates. Mortgage payments as a percent of income rose m/m to 13.9% versus the high of roughly 25% in 2006. The average monthly mortgage rate fell to 3.81%.

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) Jul Jun May Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 4,470 4,370 4,620 10.4 4,283 4,181 4,329
 Northeast 580 540 610 13.7 544 563 580
 Midwest 1,040 1,020 1,040 16.9 920 908 975
 South 1,770 1,730 1,810 8.6 1,685 1,626 1,640
 West 1,080 1,080 1,160 5.9 1,133 1,083 1,134
Single-Family Sales 3,980 3,900 4,110 9.9 3,797 3,704 3,868
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 187,300 188,800 180,300 9.4 164,542 172,442 172,783
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