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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Backpedal to Nine-Month Low
by Tom Moeller  February 23, 2015

Sales of existing homes fell 4.9% (+3.2% y/y) during January to 4.820 million (AR), following an unrevised 2.4% rise in December. Home sales were at the lowest point since April and disappointed consensus expectations for 5.00 million in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Single-family home sales fell 5.1% last month (+3.9% y/y) to 4.270 million, also a nine-month low, after a 3.4% rise. Condo and co-op sales declined 3.5% last month (-1.8% y/y) to 0.550 million, the lowest level since March. The existing home sales data were revised back to 2012.

The median sales price of an existing home declined 4.1% to $199,600 from $208,200, revised from $209,500. The latest decline was the sixth in the last seven months but prices remained 6.2% higher than last year. The average sales price fell 2.6% (+4.9% y/y) to $248,100, also the sixth decline in seven months.

By region, sales in the West declined 7.1% (+1.0% y/y), the third decline in four months. Sales in the Northeast were off 6.0% (+3.3% y/y), the third straight monthly drop. In the South, sales fell 4.6% (+5.6% y/y), the second shortfall in three months. Sales in the Midwest were off 2.7% (+0.9% y/y), the fourth decline in five months.

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.

Smart Money or Dumb Money: Investors' Role in the Housing Bubble from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 4,820 5,070 4,950 3.2 4,920 5,074 4,657
   Northeast 630 670 680 3.3 640 658 597
   Midwest 1,080 1,110 1,130 0.9 1,131 1,194 1,063
   South 2,070 2,170 2,100 5.6 2,048 2,032 1,834
   West 1,040 1,120 1,040 1.0 1,102 1,190 1,163
Single-Family Sales 4,270 4,500 4,350 3.9 4,334 4,473 4,125
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 199,600 208,200 207,200 6.2 206,708 195,667 175,433
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