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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Retreat; Prices Down for Fourth Straight Month
by Tom Moeller  November 23, 2015

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes declined 3.4% (+0.9% y/y) during October to 5.360 million (AR) after an unrevised 4.7% increase to 5.550 million in September. The latest figure disappointed expectations for 5.40 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Single-family home sales were off 3.7% last month to 4.750 million (+1.5% y/y). Condo and co-op sales eased 1.6% (-3.7% y/y) and were 6.2% below their June high.

The median sales price of an existing home fell 0.9% to $219,600 (+5.8% y/y) and was down 7.1% from June's record $236,300. The average sales price fell 0.9% to $262,800 (+3.4% y/y).

By region, sales in the Northeast remained unchanged m/m at .760 million units (5.0% y/y) but were near the eight-year high. Sales in the West retreated 8.7% to 1.160 million (0.0% y/y) following September's 6.7% increase. In the South, sales declined 3.2% to 2.140 million (-2.7% y/y) and reversed the prior month's gain. In the Midwest, sales eased 0.8% to 1.300 million (+6.0% y/y) after September's 2.3% rise.

During September, the composite index of home affordability rose 3.5% to 163.5 (-2.9% y/y). Payments as a percent of income eased m/m to 15.3% but were up from the low of 11.7% in January 2013.

The inventory of unsold homes declined 4.5% y/y to 2.140 million. The 4.8 months' supply of homes on the market remained 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 Forecast Survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Oct Sep Aug NSA, Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 5,360 5,550 5,300 0.9 4,920 5,074 4,657
   Northeast 760 760 700 5.0 640 658 596
   Midwest 1,300 1,310 1,280 6.0 1,131 1,194 1,063
   South 2,140 2,210 2,130 -2.7 2,048 2,032 1,834
   West 1,160 1,270 1,190 0.0 1,102 1,190 1,163
Single-Family Sales 4,750 4,930 4,680 1.5 4,334 4,473 4,125
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 219,600 221,700 228,500 5.8 206,708 195,667 175,433
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