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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Fall Sharply in May
by Tom Moeller  June 21, 2022

• Sales post their fourth consecutive decline.

• Most regions see fewer sales.

• Median sales price continues to strengthen.

Existing home sales declined 3.4% (-8.6% y/y) during May to 5.41 million (SAAR) from 5.60 million in April, revised from 5.61 million. It was the lowest level of sales since June 2020. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 5.40 million sales in May.

The National Association of Realtors "... anticipates a further decline in home sales. The impact of higher mortgage rates is not yet fully reflected in the data."

The fall in existing home sales was led by a 3.6% decline (-7.7% y/y) in single-family home sales to 4.80 million, the lowest level since June 2020. Sales of condos and co-ops eased 1.6% (-15.3% y/y), the same as they did in April. They fell to 610,000 units, down from 740,000 in January.

Home sales declined in most regions of the country m/m and all are down sharply from January highs. Sales in the Midwest fell 5.3% (-7.5% y/y) to 1.24 million in May and were down 17.3% from January. In the West, sales also fell 5.3% in May (-10.0% y/y) to 1.08 million, down 15.0% from January. In the South, home sales weakened 2.8% to 2.41 million (-8.4% y/y), off 18.0% since the start of the year. Moving higher during May were existing home sales in the Northeast which improved 1.5% (-9.3% y/y) to 680,000. Still, they were off 12.8% since January.

The number of existing homes on the market rose 12.6% (NSA) to 1.16 million, but they were down 4.1% y/y. The months' supply of homes on the market rose slightly to 2.6 at the current selling rate. These figures date back to January 1999.

The median price of an existing home increased 3.1% to a record $407,600 last month, up 14.8% y/y. 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.

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