Friday, March 23, 2007

February Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 3/23/2007 10:07:00 AM

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports: Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in February

Click on graph for larger image.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 3.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.69 million units in February from a downwardly revised level of 6.44 million in January, but are 3.6 percent below the 6.94 million-unit pace in February 2006.
The above graph shows NSA monthly sales for 2005, 2006 and 2007. This shows that March is the first key month of the year.

Total housing inventory levels rose 5.9 percent at the end of February to 3.75 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.7-month supply at the current sales pace compared with a 6.6-month supply in January. Raw inventories peaked last July at 3.86 million, and supplies topped at 7.4 months in October.
A few key points:

1) March is the beginning of the spring selling season.

2) Inventory is at a record levels for February (30% above Feb 2006).

3) Existing home sales are reported at the close of escrow. This means these contracts were mostly signed in December and January. So these numbers are prior to the subprime implosion of mid-February.