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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Improve While Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  October 20, 2017

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose 0.7% (-1.5% y/y) during September to 5.390 million units (SAAR) after an unrevised 1.7% decline to 5.350 million in August. Despite the rise, sales remained near the lowest level in a year. Expectations were for 5.300 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of all existing homes sold fell 3.2% (NSA, +4.2% y/y) to $245,100 from $253,100.

Sales of existing single-family homes improved 1.1% (-1.2% y/y) to 4.790 million units while sales of co-ops and condos eased 1.6% (-3.2% y/y) to 600,000.

By region, total existing home sales in the South remained depressed at 2.130 million units (-2.3% y/y) following the prior month's 5.7% reduction due to Hurricane Harvey. Working higher were home sales in the West by 3.3% (0.0% y/y) to 1.240 million units after a 4.8% decline. Home sales in the Midwest gained 1.6% (-1.5% y/y) to 1.300 million units after a 2.4% rise. In the Northeast, existing home sales held steady at 720,000 (-1.4% y/y) after a 10.8% increase.

The number of homes on the market rose 1.6% (-6.4% y/y) to 1.900 million. There was a 4.2 months' supply of homes available for sale which has been steady for five months, but up from a January low of 3.5 months.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability are compiled by the National Association of Realtors and 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) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 5,390 5,350 5,440 -1.5 5,440 5,234 4,923
   Northeast 720 720 650 -1.4 735 685 641
   Midwest 1,300 1,280 1,250 -1.5 1,296 1,231 1,134
   South 2,130 2,150 2,280 -2.3 2,217 2,148 2,048
   West 1,240 1,200 1,260 0.0 1,193 1,170 1,100
Single-Family 4,790 4,740 4,840 -1.2 4,828 4,624 4,333
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 245,100 253,100 258,100 4.2 232,067 219,867 206,708
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