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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Post a Small Gain
by Tom Moeller  May 22, 2014

The worst of the winter's harsh weather effect on housing may have passed, but there's little buoyancy in its wake. Sales of existing single-family homes in April gained 1.3% (-6.8% y/y) to 4.650 million (AR) versus an unrevised 4.590 million in March. Despite the monthly gain, which was only the second in the last nine months, sales remained 13.6% below the July peak. The latest level fell short of expectations for 4.69 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single family homes improved 0.5% to 4.060 million (-7.7% y/y). Sales of condos and co-ops increased 7.3% (0.0% y/y).

The median sales price of an existing single-family home increased 2.5% to $201,700 last month (5.2% y/y) but remained 5.7% below the peak this past June. Prices also remained 12.4% lower than the all-time peak in July 2006.

Home affordability declined 3.2% during March (-12.8% y/y) as higher home prices offset the decline in mortgage rates to 4.38%.

The inventory of unsold homes rose 16.8% last month (6.5% y/y) but remained 43.3% below the 2007 peak. The months' supply of unsold homes jumped m/m to 5.9. 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) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 4,650 4,590 4,600 -6.8 5,073 4,659 4,277
Northeast 600 600 550 -6.3 659 597 543
Midwest 1,030 1,040 1,000 -9.6 1,193 1,064 917
South 1,940 1,920 1,980 -3.5 2,032 1,834 1,683
West 1,080 1,030 1,070 -10.0 1,190 1,164 1,133
Single-Family Sales 4,060 4,040 4,040 -7.7 4,471 4,128 3,792
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 201,700 196,700 188,300 5.2 195,667 175,442 164,542
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