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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales and Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  December 22, 2014

Existing single-family home sales fell 6.1% last month to 4.930 million (AR) versus 5.250 in October, revised from 5.260 million. Sales were 8.4% below their July 2003 high and well short of consensus expectations for 5.20 million in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Single-family home sales declined 6.3% to 4.330 million. Condo and co-op sales were off 4.8% to 0.600 million (0.0% y/y).

The median sales price of an existing home declined 1.0% to $205,300 (+5.0% y/y) from $207,500, revised from $208,300. This was the fifth consecutive monthly decline, usual for the recent five months in years past. The median price declined 0.9% (+5.6% y/y), also the fifth straight month of decline.

By region, sales in the West declined 9.6% to 1.030 million (-1.0% y/y). Sales in the Midwest were off 8.9% to 1.130 million (-1.7% y/y) and sales fell 3.2% to 2.090 million in the South (+5.0% y/y). Sales in the Northeast declined 4.2% to 680,000 (+4.6% y/y).

The inventory of unsold homes increased 2.0% y/y to 2.090 million. Compared to sales, this supply of unsold homes held at 5.1 months. That compares to an 11.9-month peak supply in July of 2010.

During October, home affordability slipped 0.4% (-1.7% y/y). Monthly mortgage payments nudged up to 15.1% of median family income but remained down from their recent high of 16.1%. Mortgage interest rates rose to 4.29% from 4.21% but remained below the recent high of 4.54% in January.

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) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 4,930 5,250 5,180 2.1 5,073 4,659 4,277
   Northeast 680 710 690 4.6 659 597 543
   Midwest 1,130 1,240 1,180 -1.7 1,193 1,064 917
   South 2,090 2,160 2,110 5.0 2,032 1,834 1,683
   West 1,030 1,140 1,200 -1.0 1,190 1,164 1,133
Single-Family Sales 4,330 4,620 4,570 2.4 4,471 4,128 3,792
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 205,300 207,500 209,100 5.0 195,667 175,442 164,542
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