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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Increase in January; Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller  February 22, 2017

Sales of existing single-family homes increased 3.3% (3.8% y/y) to 5.690 million units (AR) during January following December sales of 5.510 million, revised from 5.490 million. Expectations had been for 5.540 million purchases in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes increased 2.6% last month (3.7% y/y) to 5.040 million units following little change during the prior two months. Sales of condos & co-ops rose 8.3% (4.8% y/y) to 650,000 following a 10.4% decline. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes declined 1.9% (+7.1% y/y) versus January to $228,900. The average price of an existing home fell 1.4% to $271,000 (+5.2% y/y).

Sales performance was mixed around the country last month. Home sales in the Northeast increased 5.3% (6.7% y/y) to 800,000. Sales in the Midwest were off 1.5% (-0.8% y/y) to 1.290 million. Sales in the West increased 6.6% (8.4% y/y), also to 1.290 million. In the South, sales gained 3.6% (3.1% y/y) to 2.310 million.

The total inventory of homes on the market declined 7.1% y/y to 1.690 million. The months' sales supply of homes fell to 3.3, the lowest point since June 2004.

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.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 5,690 5,510 5,600 3.8 5,452 5,254 4,935
   Northeast 800 760 800 6.7 733 691 645
   Midwest 1,290 1,310 1,330 -0.8 1,304 1,240 1,136
   South 2,310 2,230 2,250 3.1 2,218 2,151 2,051
   West 1,290 1,210 1,220 8.4 1,197 1,172 1,103
Single-Family 5,040 4,910 4,930 3.7 4,838 4,646 4,344
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 228,900 233,300 234,400 7.1 232,067 219,867 206,708
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