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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Slip as Inventories Drop; Prices Improve
by Tom Moeller  July 22, 2013

Existing home sales edged down 1.2% in June (+15.2% y/y) to 5.080 mil. units (AR), according to the National Association of Realtors. The May figure was revised down to 5.140 mil. from 5.180 mil. reported last month. Consensus expectations had been for 5.260 mil. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 1.1% to 4.500 mil. (+14.5% y/y. These data have a longer history than the total sales series.) Sales of condos and co-ops decreased 1.7% m/m to 0.580M (+20.8% y/y).

Sales slipped across the nation by roughly equal amounts. In the Northeast sales fell 1.6% to .630 mil. (+16.7% y/y). Sales declined 1.6% in the West to 1.210 mil. (11.0 y/y while sales in the South were off 1.5% to 2.030 mil. (+16.0 y/y). Sales in the Midwest were unchanged at 1.210 mil. (17.5% y/y).

Potentially holding back sales was the diminished supply of homes on the market. It edged up last month to 5.1 months of sales but that remained down from a high of 11.9 months in July of 2010. The actual number of homes on the market fell 7.6% y/y last month and added to a 21.1% decline during all of last year and a 23.2% drop in 2011.

The median price of an existing home jumped another 5.5% in June to $214,200 (13.5% y/y). This was the highest price reading since June 2008. The peak was $230,300 in July 2006.

Reported earlier this month, the May composite index of home price affordability dropped 6.3% (-8.3% y/y) to its lowest level since August 2010. The decline was due to the 5.5% price increase (13.2% y/y). The average mortgage rate slipped m/m to 3.57% but was up from the 3.43% December low. 

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 from the Action Economics survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database. 

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jun May Apr Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 5,080 5,140 4,970 15.2 4,661 4,278 4,183
    Northeast 630 640 640 16.7 596 543 563
    Midwest 1,210 1,210 1,120 17.5 1067 918 909
    South 2,030 2,060 2,010 16.0 1,833 1,683 1,626
    West 1,210 1,230 1,200 11.0 1,165 1,133 1,084
Single-Family Sales 4,500 4,500 4,380 14.5 4,130 3,793 3,705
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 214,200 203,100 191,800 13.5 175,442 164,542 172,442
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