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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller  September 22, 2016

Sales of existing homes fell 0.9% (+0.8% y/y) during August to 5.330 million units after 3.4% July decline to 5.380 million units, revised from 5.390 million. Expectations had been for 5.45 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes were off 2.3% last month (+0.6% y/y) to 4.700 million. Sales of condos & co-ops increased 10.5% (1.6% y/y) to 630,000, and made up the July decline. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes eased 1.3% (+5.1% y/y) to $240,200 from a downwardly revised $243,300. Annualized growth in prices of 5.1% has been roughly steady for the past two years, but falls short of the double-digit increases in 2013. The average price of an existing home eased slightly to $282,100 (+4.0% y/y).

Weakness in sales occurred in most regions of the country. Home sales in the South declined 2.7% (+0.9% y/y) to 2.160 million, the lowest level in nine months. Home sales in the West fell 1.6% (+0.8% y/y) to 1.200 million, and reversed the prior month's increase. In the Midwest, home sales eased 0.8% (+0.8% y/y) to 1.270 million, the lowest level since March. To the upside were sales in the Northeast. The 6.1% increase to 700,000 left them unchanged y/y.

The number of existing homes on the market declined 10.1% y/y to 2.040 million. The months' sales supply of homes eased to 4.6, about where it's been for three years.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability 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) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 5,330 5,380 5,570 0.8 5,254 4,935 5,087
   Northeast 700 660 760 0.0 691 645 658
   Midwest 1,270 1,280 1,350 0.8 1,240 1,136 1,201
   South 2,160 2,220 2,260 0.9 2,151 2,051 2,040
   West 1,200 1,220 1,200 0.8 1,172 1,103 1,188
Single-Family 4,700 4,810 4,920 0.6 4,626 4,344 4,484
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 240,200 243,300 247,600 5.1 219,867 206,708 195,667
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