Friday, February 26, 2010

More on Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 2/26/2010 11:07:00 AM

Earlier the NAR released the existing home sales data for January; here are a few more graphs ...

Existing Home Sales NSA Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows NSA monthly existing home sales for 2005 through 2010 (see Red column for Jan 2010).

Sales (NSA) in January 2010 were 7% higher than in January 2009, and slightly lower than in January 2008.

The second graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through January. I jokingly refer to this as the "distressing gap".

Distressing Gap The initial gap was caused by the flood of distressed sales. This kept existing home sales elevated, and depressed new home sales since builders couldn't compete with the low prices of all the foreclosed properties.

The recent spike in existing home sales was due primarily to the first time homebuyer tax credit.

The following graph shows the same information as a ratio - existing home sales divided by new home sales - through January 2010.

Ratio: Existing home sale to new home sales This ratio is just off from the all time high in November when existing home sales were artificially boosted by the first time home buyer tax credit.

Eventually this ratio will return to the historical range of around 6 existing home sales per new home sale. Right now this graph shows that the housing market is far from normal.

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