Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Existing Home Sales lowest since 1996, 12.5 months of supply

by Bill McBride on 8/24/2010 10:00:00 AM

The NAR reports: July Existing-Home Sales Fall as Expected but Prices Rise

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 27.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million units in July from a downwardly revised 5.26 million in June, and are 25.5 percent below the 5.14 million-unit level in July 2009.

Sales are at the lowest level since the total existing-home sales series launched in 1999, and single family sales – accounting for the bulk of transactions – are at the lowest level since May of 1995.
...
Total housing inventory at the end of July increased 2.5 percent to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 12.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.9-month supply in June.
Existing Home Sales Click on graph for larger image in new window.

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

Sales in July 2010 (3.83 million SAAR) were 27.2% lower than last month, and were 25.5% lower than July 2009 (5.14 million SAAR).

Existing Home InventoryThe second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

According to the NAR, inventory increased to 3.98 million in July from 3.89 million in June. The all time record high was 4.58 million homes for sale in July 2008.

Inventory is not seasonally adjusted and there is a clear seasonal pattern with inventory increasing in the spring and into the summer. I'll have more on inventory later ...

Existing Home Sales Months of SupplyThe last graph shows the 'months of supply' metric.

Months of supply increased to 12.5 months in July from 8.9 months in June. A normal market has under 6 months of supply, so this is extremely high and suggests prices, as measured by the repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller and CoreLogic, will start declining.

Ignore the median price! Double digit supply and lowest sales rate since 1996 are the key stories.

I'll have more soon.

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