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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Continue To Weaken
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2013

Sales of existing homes declined 3.2% (+6.0% y/y) during October to 5.120 million (AR). The drop followed an unrevised September 1.9% shortfall, according to the National Association of Realtors. Consensus expectations had been for 5.18 million sales. Sales of existing single-family homes alone fell 4.1% to 4.490 million (+5.2% y/y). These data have a longer history than the total sales series. Sales of condos and co-ops increased 3.3% to 0.630 mil. (12.5% y/y).

The median price of an existing home ticked up 0.5% to $199,500. (+12.8% y/y). The peak was $230,300 in July 2006.

Sales fell across the nation last month. The greatest m/m decline occurred in the West with a 7.1% shortfall (-0.8% y/y). Next was the Northeast which posted a 2.9% sales drop (+11.7% y/y. In the South, sales fell 1.9% m/m (+7.3% y/y) and sales in the Midwest were off 1.6% (+8.0% y/y).

The supply of homes on the market was roughly unchanged at 5.0 months of sales, down from a high of 11.9 months in July of 2010. The actual number of homes on the market increased 0.9% y/y last month. That started to reverse a 21.1% y/y decline during all of last year and a 23.2% drop in 2011.

Reported earlier this month, the September composite index of home price affordability rose 4.0% (-17.2% y/y) as a result of a 3.6% decline (+23.4% y/y) in mortgage payments. The decline was due to a 5.3% fall (+11.0% y/y) in home prices. Average interest rates paid were 4.53%, up from the December low of 3.43%.

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) Oct Sep Aug Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 5,120 5,290 5,390 6.0 4,661 4,278 4,183
Northeast 670 690 710 11.7 596 543 563
Midwest 1,220 1,240 1,320 8.0 1067 918 909
South 2,060 2,100 2,130 7.3 1,833 1,683 1,626
West 1,170 1,260 1,230 -0.8 1,165 1,133 1,084
Single-Family Sales 4,490 4,680 4,750 5.2 4,130 3,793 3,705
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 199,500 198,500 209,700 12.8 175,442 164,542 172,442
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