Tuesday, April 22, 2008

March Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 4/22/2008 10:07:00 AM

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Slip in March

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – were down 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million units in March from a level of 5.03 million in February, and remain 19.3 percent below the 6.11 million-unit pace in March 2007.
Existing Home Sales Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993.

Sales in March 2008 (4.93 million SAAR) were the weakest March since 1998 (4.87 million SAAR).

The following is a graph of Not Seasonally Adjusted existing home sales for 2005 through 2008.

This graph shows that sales have plunged in March 2008 compared to the previous three years.

March is an important month for existing home sales, and marks the beginning of the Spring selling season.
Existing Home Sales NSA


Existing Home Inventory The third graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes. According to NAR, inventory increased to 4.058 million homes for sale in March.
Total housing inventory rose 1.0 percent at the end of March percent to 4.06 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 9.6-month supply in February.
The typical pattern is for inventory to decline in December, and then to slowly rebound in January and February, and really start to increase in March.

I'll have more on inventory later today.

Existing Home Sales Months of Supply
The third graph shows the 'months of supply' metric for the last six years.

Months of supply decreased to 9.9 months.

This follows the highest year end months of supply since 1982 (the all time record of 11.5 months of supply). Even if inventory levels stabilize, the months of supply could continue to rise - and possibly rise significantly - if sales continue to decline. More later ...

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