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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Reach 2007 High; Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  November 22, 2016

Sales of existing homes increased 2.0% (5.9% y/y) during October to 5.600 million (AR) after a 3.6% increase to 5.490 million in September, revised up from 5.470 million. The latest level was the highest since February 2007. Expectations had been for 5.45 million purchases in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes improved 2.3% last month (6.6% y/y) to 4.990 million following a 4.5% increase. Sales of condos & co-ops remained unchanged both m/m and y/y at 610,000 following a 3.2% decline. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes declined 1.3% to $232,200, the fourth straight month of decline. Annualized price growth of 6.0% has been roughly steady for the past two years, but falls short of the double-digit increases in 2013. The average price of an existing home fell to $274,300 (+4.4% y/y).

Improvement in sales was reported around the country. Sales in the South improved 2.8% (4.7% y/y) to 2.220 million, while sales gained 2.3% in the Midwest (6.3% y/y) to 1.360 million. Sales rose 1.4% m/m, and 1.4% y/y, in the Northeast to 750,000 and in the West, sales increased 0.8% (10.4% y/y) to 1.270 million.

The total inventory of homes on the market declined 4.3% y/y to 2.020 million. The months' sales supply of homes ticked lower to 4.3, down from 4.8 months during all of last year and 5.2 months in 2014.

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 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 5,600 5,490 5,300 5.9 5,254 4,935 5,087
   Northeast 750 740 700 1.4 691 645 658
   Midwest 1,360 1,330 1,270 6.3 1,240 1,136 1,201
   South 2,220 2,160 2,140 4.7 2,151 2,051 2,040
   West 1,270 1,260 1,190 10.4 1,172 1,103 1,188
Single-Family 4,990 4,880 4,700 6.6 4,626 4,344 4,484
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 232,200 235,300 239,900 6.0 219,867 206,708 195,667
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