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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales and Prices Fall in December; 2016 Sales Reach 10-Year High
by Tom Moeller  January 24, 2017

During all of 2016, sales of existing homes increased 3.8% to 5.452 million, the highest level since 2006, when sales reached 6.478 million. During December alone, however, sales eased 2.8% (+0.7% y/y) to 5.490 million units (AR) from 5.650 million in November, revised up from 5.610 million. Expectations had been for 5.530 million purchases in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes fell 1.8% last month (+1.5% y/y) to 4.880 million following no change in November. Sales of condos & co-ops retreated 10.3% (-4.7% y/y) to 610,000 following a 13.3% increase. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes improved 4.0% versus December 2015 to $232,200. The average price of an existing home rose to $274,000 (3.0% y/y).

Sales performance was mixed around the country last month. Home sales in the Northeast declined 2.8% (+2.7% y/y) to 760,000. Sales in the Midwest were off 3.8% (+2.4% y/y) to 1.280 million. Sales in the West declined 4.8% (-1.6% y/y) to 1.200 million. In the South, sales were unchanged (11.6% y/y) at 2.250 million.

The total inventory of homes on the market declined 6.3% y/y to 1.650 million. The months' sales supply of homes fell to 3.6, the lowest point since January 2005.

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) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 5,490 5,650 5,570 0.7 5,452 5,254 4,935
   Northeast 760 810 750 2.7 733 691 645
   Midwest 1,280 1,330 1,360 2.4 1,304 1,240 1,136
   South 2,250 2,250 2,190 0.4 2,218 2,151 2,051
   West 1,200 1,260 1,270 -1.6 1,197 1,172 1,103
Single-Family 4,880 4,970 4,970 1.5 4,838 4,646 4,344
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 232,200 234,400 234,100 4.0 231,992 219,867 206,708
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