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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Decline as Prices Rise in February
by Tom Moeller  March 18, 2022

• Sales drop follows January increase.

• Declines are spread throughout country.

• Median price gain reverses earlier decline.

Existing home sales declined 7.2% (-2.4% y/y) to 6.020 million (SAAR) in February from 6.490 million in January, revised from 6.500 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected sales of 6.14 million units in February. These data are compiled when existing home sales close.

The fall in existing home sales included a 7.0% decline (-2.2% y/y) in single-family home sales to 5.350 million from 5.750 million in January. Sales of condos and co-ops weakened 9.5% in February (-4.3% y/y) to 670,000 from 740,000 in the prior month.

Sales declined across the country last month. Sales in the Northeast fell 11.5% (-12.7% y/y) to 690,000. Sales in the Midwest declined 11.3% to 1.330 million. In the South, sales fell 5.1% in February (+3.0% y/y) to 2.790 million. Sales in the West declined 4.7% (-8.3% y/y) to 1.210 million.

The number of existing homes on the market rose 2.4% (-15.5% y/y) to 870,000 (NSA). The supply of homes on the market edged up to 1.7 months in February from 1.6 in January. That remained well below the high of 4.6 months in May 2020. These figures date back to January 1999.

Nearing the record high, the median price of an existing home increased 2.1% (15.0% y/y) to $357,300 in last month. In the West, prices gained 1.3% last month (7.1% y/y) to $512,600. February home prices in the Northeast edged 0.2% higher (7.1% y/y) to $383,700. Prices in the South rose 2.1% in February (18.1% y/y) to $318,800. In the Midwest, prices improved 1.3% last month (7.5% y/y) to $248,900. The price data are not seasonally adjusted.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability are compiled by the National Association of Realtors. The data on single-family home sales extend back to February 1968. Total sales and price data and regional sales can be found in Haver's USECON database. Regional price and affordability data and national inventory data are available in the REALTOR database. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database.

St. Louis Fed President Explains His Recent FOMC Dissent is available here.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Total Sales 6,020 6,490 6,090 -2.4 6,127 5,638 5,325
   Northeast 690 780 730 -12.7 758 704 684
   Midwest 1,330 1,500 1,450 -1.5 1,397 1,333 1,244
   South 2,790 2,940 2,690 3.0 2,708 2,449 2,283
   West 1,210 1,270 1,220 -8.3 1,264 1,153 1,114
 Single-Family Sales 5,350 5,750 5,410 -2.2 5,418 5,059 4,746
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 357,300 350,000 354,600 15.0 343,700 295,217 269,783
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