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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales and Prices Retreat
by Tom Moeller  September 22, 2014

Sales of existing single-family homes declined 2.4% to 5.050 million (AR) during August (-5.3% y/y) from 5.140 million in July, last month reported as 5.150 million. Sales were 6.3% below the peak reached last July. The latest level fell short of expectations for 5.180 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of single-family homes declined 1.8% (-4.9% y/y) to 4.460 million. Sales of condos and co-ops fell 1.7% (-7.8% y/y) to 0.590 million.

Sales in the West led total sales lower with a 5.1% decline (-9.8% y/y) to 1.110 million. Sales in the South followed with a 4.2% retreat (-3.8% y/y) to 2.030 million. Posting a 4.7% increase (-4.3% y/y) to 0.670 million were sales in the Northeast to the highest level since last October. Sales in the Midwest gained 2.5% (-3.9% y/y) to 1.240 million, the highest level in twelve months.

The median sales price of an existing single-family home fell 0.8% to $219,800 last month (+4.8% y/y). Prices remained 4.6% below the all-time peak in July 2006.

During July, home affordability slipped 0.3% (-4.3% y/y) as monthly mortgage payments rose to 16.3% of median family income, the highest level since November 2008.

The inventory of unsold homes rose 4.5% y/y to 2.310 million but remained 42.8% below the 2007 peak. The supply of unsold homes held at 5.5 months for the fourth straight month. That compares to an 11.9 month peak 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) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 5,050 5,140 5,030 -5.3 5,073 4,659 4,277
Northeast 670 640 640 -9.9 659 597 543
Midwest 1,240 1,210 1,200 -3.9 1,193 1,064 917
South 2.030 2,120 2,050 -3.8 2,032 1,834 1,683
West 1,110 1,170 1,140 -9.8 1,190 1,164 1,133
Single-Family Sales 4,460 4,540 4,430 -4.9 4,471 4,128 3,792
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 219,800 221,600 222,000 4.8 195,667 175,442 164,542
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