Friday, February 17, 2012

Lawler: Early Read on January Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 2/17/2012 01:55:00 PM

Economist Tom Lawler is forecasting that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will report sales of 4.66 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis for January. The NAR is scheduled to report existing home sales on Wednesday, Feb 22nd at 10 AM ET.

This is a slight increase from the 4.61 million rate in December, and essentially unchanged from the 4.64 million rate reported in January 2011.

Tom didn't send me an estimate for inventory, but based on other reports, I expect inventory to decline slightly from the 2.38 million houses for sale reported for December.

This sales rate, combined with a decline in inventory, could put months-of-supply under 6 months for the first time since early 2006.

Note: Even though there is a seasonal pattern for inventory (inventory usually bottoms in January and peaks in the summer), the months-of-supply metric is calculated using the seasonally adjusted sales rate and the not seasonally adjusted inventory. So the months-of-supply will probably increase again over the next 6 months.

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