Monday, December 31, 2007

November Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 12/31/2007 10:00:00 AM

The NAR reports that Existing Home sales were at 5 million (SAAR) unit rate in November.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.00 million units in November from an upwardly revised pace of 4.98 million in October, but are 20.0 percent below the 6.25 million-unit level in November 2006.
Existing Home Sales NSA Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) sales per month for the last 3 years. Note that on an NSA basis, November sales were slightly below October.

The impact of the credit crunch is obvious as sales in September, October and November declined sharply from earlier in the year.

For existing homes, sales are reported at the close of escrow. So November sales were for contracts signed in September and October.

Existing Home Inventory The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes. According to NAR, inventory was down slightly at 4.273 million homes for sale in November.
Total housing inventory declined 3.6 percent at the end of November to 4.27 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.7-month supply in October.
This is a slight decrease in the inventory level from the last few months, and the months of supply also decreased slightly to 10.3.

This is the normal historical pattern for inventory - inventory peaks at the end of summer and then stay fairly flat until the holidays (it then usually declines somewhat). This says nothing about the increasing anxiety of sellers and the rising foreclosure sales.

Existing Home Sales Months of Supply
This wasn't true in 2005 - as inventory continued to increase throughout the year - and that was one of the indicators that the housing boom had ended.

The third graph shows the 'months of supply' metric for the last six years.

Even if inventory levels stabilize, the months of supply could continue to rise - and possibly rise significantly - if sales continue to decline.

The fourth graph shows monthly sales (SAAR) since 1993.

Existing Home Sales This shows sales have now fallen to the level of December 2000.

More later today on existing home sales.

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