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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise While Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller  August 21, 2019

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes increased 2.5% during July to 5.420 million (0.6% y/y) from 5.290 million in June, revised from 5.270 million. Sales were 9.9% higher than the recent low during January. Sales of 5.39 million had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of all existing homes sold weakened 1.6% last month (+4.3% y/y) to a $280,800 (NSA) from the record of $285,300 in June. The average sales price fell 1.3% (+3.1% y/y) to $317,100 from June's record of $321,400.

Existing home sales rose in most sections of the country during July. Sales in the West jumped 8.3% (-0.8% y/y) to 1.180 million and reversed the 3.5% decline during June. Sales in the South gained 1.8% (2.7% y/y) to 2.310 million after a 2.6% decline. Existing home sales in the Midwest improved 1.6% (0.8% y/y) to 1.270 million and repeated the June rise. Working the other way, sales in the Northeast declined 2.9% (-4.3% y/y) to 660,000 and reversed June's gain.

Sales of existing single-family homes increased 2.8% (1.0% y/y) to 4.840 million units, the highest level since February. Sales of condos and co-ops were unchanged at 580,000 units (-3.3% y/y).

The number of homes on the market declined 1.6% y/y. The months' supply of homes on the market fell m/m to 4.2, but remained up from a low of 3.1 months in December 2017.

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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 5,420 5,290 5,360 0.6 5,341 5,531 5,437
   Northeast 660 680 670 -4.3 689 735 733
   Midwest 1,270 1,250 1,230 0.8 1,265 1,301 1,297
   South 2,310 2,270 2,330 2.7 2,246 2,270 2,215
   West 1,180 1,090 1,130 -0.8 1,141 1,225 1,192
Single-Family 4,840 4,710 4,760 1.0 4,742 4,907 4,822
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 280,800 285,300 278,200 4.3 257,267 245,950 232,067
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