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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales Improve While Prices Ease
by Tom Moeller  November 21, 2017

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes increased 2.0% (-0.9% y/y) during October to 5.480 million units (SAAR) after a little-revised 0.4% slip to 5.370 million in September. It was the highest level of sales since June. Expectations were for 5.410 million sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of all existing homes sold eased 0.2% (NSA, +5.5% y/y) to $247,000 from $247,600.

Sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.1% (-1.0% y/y) to 4.870 million units while sales of co-ops and condos improved 1.7% (0.0% y/y) to 610,000.

By region, total existing home sales in the Northeast jumped 4.2% (0.0% y/y) to 740,000 units, the highest level in four months. Sales in the West rose 2.4% (0.8% y/y) to 1.270 million units after a 3.3% increase. In the South, sales increased 1.9% (-1.8% y/y) to 2.160 million units following two months of decline, which included the effects of Hurricanes Harvey & Irma. Home sales in the Midwest improved 0.8% (-1.5% y/y) to 1.310 million units after two months of increase.

The number of homes on the market declined 3.2% (-10.4% y/y) to 1.800 million, down for the fifth consecutive month. There was a 3.9 months' supply of homes available for sale, the lowest level since March.

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) Oct Sep Aug Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 5,480 5,370 5,350 -0.9 5,440 5,234 4,923
   Northeast 740 710 720 0.0 735 685 641
   Midwest 1,310 1,300 1,280 -1.5 1,296 1,231 1,134
   South 2,160 2,120 2,150 -1.8 2,217 2,148 2,048
   West 1,270 1,240 1,200 0.8 1,193 1,170 1,100
Single-Family 4,870 4,770 4,740 -1.0 4,828 4,624 4,333
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 247,000 247,600 253,100 5.5 232,067 219,867 206,708
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