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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Rise in 2017
by Tom Moeller  January 24, 2018

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes in 2017 improved 2.0% to 5.547 million units. It was the highest level of sales since 2006, despite a December decline of 3.6% (+1.1% y/y) to 5.570 million (AR) from 5.780 million in November. Expectations were for 5.700 million December sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of all existing homes sold rose 5.8% y/y during December to $246,800. The rate of increase has been fairly stable for several years. During all of 2017, the median price averaged $245,975, up 6.0% y/y.

Sales of existing single-family homes declined 2.6% during December (+1.0% y/y) to 4.960 million units. Sales of co-ops and condos were off 11.6% (+1.7% y/y) to 610,000.

The number of homes on the market declined by 10.3% last year following a 6.3% decline in 2016. The supply of homes for sale fell to 3.2 months by the end of the year. That compared to a 10.4 months during all of 2008.

By region, December total existing home sales in the Midwest fell 6.3% (+1.5% y/y) to 1.330 million units. In the South, sales eased 1.7% (+3.1% y/y) to 2.330 million units. Home sales in the Northeast were off 7.5% (-2.6% y/y) to 740,000 units. Sales in the West declined 1.6% (-0.8% y/y) to 1.200 million units.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability are compiled by the National Association of Realtors and 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) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 5,570 5,780 5,500 1.1 5,547 5,440 5,234
   Northeast 740 800 750 -2.6 740 735 685
   Midwest 1,330 1,420 1,310 1.5 1,304 1,296 1,231
   South 2,300 2,340 2,160 3.1 2,273 2,217 2,148
   West 1,200 1,220 1,280 -0.8 1,229 1,193 1,170
Single-Family 4,960 5,090 4,870 1.0 4,920 4,828 4,624
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 246,800 247,200 246,000 5.8 245,975 232,067 219,867
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