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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Weaken as Availability Declines
by Tom Moeller  December 19, 2019

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes during November fell 1.7% (+2.7% y/y) to 5.350 million (SAAR) after rising to 5.440 million in October, revised from 5.460 million. It was the lowest level of sales since June. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected November sales of 5.44 million.

The number of homes on the market declined 5.7% y/y to the lowest level in nine months, although the number typically will decline this time of year. The months' supply of homes on the market decreased m/m to 3.7 from 4.0 twelve months ago.

The median price of all existing homes sold edged 0.1% higher (5.4% y/y) to $271,300. The average sales price rose 0.3% (4.0% y/y) last month to $308,000. These price data are not seasonally adjusted.

Existing home sales were mixed around the country in November. In the Midwest, they increased 2.3% (1.5% y/y) to 1.320 million after rising 1.6% in October. Sales in the Northeast gained 1.4% (-1.7% y/y) to 700,000 and reversed the prior month's decline. Month-to-month declines occurred elsewhere in the country. Sales in the South declined 3.9% (+3.7% y/y) to 2.240 million after a 3.6% gain. In the West, sales fell 3.5% (+4.8% y/y) to 1.090 million and were off for the fifth month in the last six.

Sales of existing single-family homes declined 1.2% (+3.5% y/y) to 4.790 million units after rising 1.7% in October. Sales of condos and co-ops fell 5.1% to 560,000 units (-3.4% y/y) after holding steady in October.

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) Nov Oct Sep  Nov Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total Sales 5,350 5,440 5,360 2.7 5,341 5,531 5,437
   Northeast 700 690 700 -1.7 689 735 733
   Midwest 1,320 1,290 1,270 1.5 1,265 1,301 1,297
   South 2,240 2,330 2,250 3.7 2,246 2,270 2,215
   West 1,090 1,130 1,140 4.8 1,141 1,225 1,192
Single-Family Sales 4,790 4,850 4,770 3.5 4,742 4,907 4,822
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 271,300 271,000 271,500 5.4 257,267 245,950 232,067
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