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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rebound as Prices Fall Again
by Tom Moeller  October 22, 2015

Sales of existing homes increased 4.7% (8.8% y/y) during September to 5.550 million and recouped the August decline to 5.300 million, revised from 5.310 million. The latest figure beat expectations for 5.35 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Single-family home sales recovered 5.3% last month to 4.930 million (9.6% y/y). Condo and co-op sales remained unchanged (3.3% y/y) following two months of decline.

The median sales price of an existing home fell 2.9% to $221,900 (+6.1% y/y) and was down from June's record $236,300. The average sales price fell 2.3% to $265,000 (3.9% y/y).

By region, sales in the Northeast were strongest m/m and rose 8.6% to 0.760 million (11.8% y/y) after remaining unchanged in August. Sales in the West improved 6.7% (9.5% y/y) to 1.270 million following a 7.8% fall. In the South, sales rose 3.8% (5.7% y/y) to 2.210 million after a 7.0% August decline. In the Midwest, sales rose 2.3% (12.0% y/y) to 1.310 million and recovered the August drop.

The composite index of home affordability rose 2.1% to 157.7 (-1.6% y/y) in August but remained near its low for the economic recovery. Payments as a percent of income eased to 15.9%, up from 11.7% in January 2013.

The inventory of unsold homes declined 3.1% y/y to 2.210 million. The months' supply of homes on the market declined to 4.8 months, down from the 11.9 month high in July 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) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 5,550 5,300 5,580 8.8 4,920 5,074 4,657
   Northeast 760 700 700 11.8 640 658 596
   Midwest 1,310 1,280 1,300 12.0 1,131 1,194 1,063
   South 2,210 2,130 2,290 5.7 2,048 2,032 1,834
   West 1,270 1,190 1,290 9.5 1,102 1,190 1,163
Single-Family Sales 4,930 4,680 4,950 9.6 4,334 4,473 4,125
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 221,900 228,500 231,800 6.1 206,708 195,667 175,433
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