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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Ease but Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  March 20, 2014

Sales of existing single-family homes in February slipped 0.4% (-7.1% y/y) to 4.600 million (AR) versus an unrevised 4.620 million in January. Sales were down 14.5% versus the July high and roughly equaled expectations for 4.620 million in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single family homes also slipped 0.2% last month to 4.040 million (-6.9% y/y). Sales of condos and co-ops declined 1.8% (-8.2% y/y).

The median sales price of an existing single-family home edged up 0.6% to $189,000 last month (9.1% y/y) but remained 11.7% lower than the peak this past June. Prices also remained 17.9% below the 2006 all-time peak.

Home affordability improved during January to its highest level since last May as soft home prices offset the rise in mortgage rates to 4.54%.

The inventory of unsold homes rose 6.4% last month but remained down by 50.5% since the 2007 peak. The months' supply of unsold homes edged up m/m to 5.2. That compares to an 11.9 month supply in July of 2010.

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) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 4,600 4,620 4,870 -7.1 5,073 4,659 4,277
Northeast 550 620 640 -12.7 659 597 543
Midwest 1,000 1,040 1,120 -12.3 1,193 1,064 917
South 1,980 1,950 2,020 -0.5 2,032 1,834 1,683
West 1,070 1,010 1,090 -10.1 1,190 1,164 1,133
Single-Family Sales 4,040 4,050 4,300 -6.9 4,471 4,128 3,792
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 189,000 187,900 197,700 9.1 195,667 175,442 164,542
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