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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Slip but Prices Improve
by Tom Moeller  April 22, 2013

The National Association of Realtors reported that March sales of existing homes fell 0.6% (+10.3% y/y) to a 4.920M annual rate. The increase followed a downwardly revised 0.2% February uptick. The latest fell short of Consensus expectations for 5.01M sales. Sales of existing single-family homes alone slipped 0.2% to 4.320M, up 9.1% y/y. (These data have a longer history than the total sales series.) Sales of condos and co-ops fell 3.2% m/m to 0.600M, up 20.0% y/y.

The median price of an existing home rose 6.2% (11.8% y/y) to $184,300. In the West, the median price rose 26.1% y/y to $258,100. In the Northeast, the median sales price of $237,000 was 3.0% higher y/y. In the South, the price of $161,700 was up 10.4% y/y and in the Midwest the price rose 7.8% y/y to $141,800.

The supply of homes on the market ticked up slightly from its seven-year low to 4.7 months. The months' supply of single-family homes on the market also rose to a low 4.7 months but for condos & coops it slipped to 4.7 months. The total number of homes on the market rose 1.6% m/m but still was off 16.8% y/y. Inventories of single-family homes fell 16.3% y/y while inventories of multi-family homes were off 19.7% y/y.

Reported earlier this month, the composite index of home price affordability fell 1.8% y/y. Mortgage payments as a percent of income m/m were near the series' low at 12.1% versus the high of roughly 25.0% in 2006. The average monthly mortgage rate was 3.56%.

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) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 4,920 4,950 4,940 10.3 4,661 4,278 4,183
Northeast 630 630 650 6.8 596 543 563
Midwest 1,160 1,140 1,160 14.9 1,067 918 909
South 1,950 1,980 1,960 12.7 1,833 1,683 1,626
West 1,180 1,200 1,170 4.4 1,165 1,133 1,084
Single-Family Sales 4,320 4,320 4,370 9.1 4,130 3,793 3,705
Median Price, Total, ($, NSA) 184,300 173,200 170,600 11.8 175,442 164,542 172,442
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