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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Strengthen to Ten-Year High
by Tom Moeller  April 21, 2017

Sales of existing single-family homes increased 4.4% during March to 5.710 million units (AR) and reversed a 3.9% February decline to 5.470 million, revised from 5.480 million. The latest level of sales was the highest since February 2007. Expectations had been for 5.550 million purchases in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales of existing single-family homes rebounded 4.3% (6.1% y/y) to 5.0800 million units, also a ten-year high. Sales of condos & co-ops rose 5.0% both m/m and y/y to 630,000 following a 7.7% decline. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of all previously owned homes increased 3.6% (6.8% y/y) to $236,400. The rise was to the highest level since August. The average price of an existing home jumped 3.3% to $278,500 (5.3% y/y).

The number of homes on the market declined 6.6% y/y to 1.830 million. The months' sales supply of homes held steady m/m at 3.8, but remained near the lowest level since January 2005.

The rebound in home sales last month reflected a 10.1% increase (4.1% y/y) in the Northeast to 760,000 after a 13.7% decline. Sales in the Midwest rebounded 9.2% (3.1% y/y) to 1.310 million after three months of decline. In the South, sales improved 3.4% (8.5% y/y) to 2.420 million, the highest level since December 2006. Sales in the West eased 1.6% (+5.2% y/y) to 1.220 million following a 3.9% drop.

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.

Brief Remarks by Federal Reserve Governor Jerome H. Powell can be found here.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 5,710 5,470 5,690 5.9 5,452 5,254 4,935
   Northeast 760 690 800 4.1 733 691 645
   Midwest 1,310 1,200 1,290 3.1 1,304 1,240 1,136
   South 2,420 2,340 2,310 8.5 2,218 2,151 2,051
   West 1,220 1,240 1,290 5.2 1,197 1,172 1,103
Single-Family 5,080 4,870 5,040 6.1 4,838 4,646 4,344
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 236,400 228,200 227,300 6.8 232,067 219,867 206,708
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