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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Reach 2007 High with Increased Prices in February
by Tom Moeller  March 20, 2020

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes during February jumped 6.5% (7.2% y/y) to 5.770 million (AR) from 5.420 million in January, revised from 5.460 million. It was the highest level of sales since February 2007. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected February sales of 5.52 million.

The median price of all existing homes sold increased 1.5% (8.0% y/y) to $270,100 following a 3.0% January decline. The average sales price improved 1.0% last month (6.0% y/y) to $305,800. These price data are not seasonally adjusted.

Existing home sales were mixed around the country in February. The increase in sales overall was paced by an 18.9% surge (11.5% y/y) in the West to 1.260 million, the highest level since February 2007. Sales in the South rose 7.2% (8.2% y/y) to 2.520 million, the highest level since October 2006, while sales in the Midwest edged 0.8% up (4.0% y/y). Sales in the Northeast declined, however, by 4.1% (+2.9% y/y) to 700,000, the lowest level in three months.

Sales of existing single-family homes strengthened 7.3% both m/m and  y/y to 5.170 million units after falling 1.8% in January. Sales of condos and co-ops held steady (7.1% y/y) at 600,000 units.

The number of homes on the market decreased 9.8% y/y and roughly equaled the record low. The month's supply of homes on the market remained at 3.1 versus 3.6 one year earlier and roughly equaled the record low. These inventory figures date back to 1999.

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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total Sales 5,770 5,420 5,530 7.2 5,330 5,341 5,531
   Northeast 700 730 730 2.9 687 689 735
   Midwest 1,290 1,280 1,260 4.0 1,248 1,265 1,301
   South 2,520 2,350 2,370 8.2 2,281 2,246 2,270
   West 1,260 1,060 1,170 11.5 1,115 1,141 1,225
Single-Family Sales 5,170 4,820 4,910 7.3 4,754 4,742 4,907
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 270,100 266,200 274,500 8.0 269,783 257,267 245,950
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