Monday, February 18, 2013

Lawler: Early Look At January Existing Home Sales

by Bill McBride on 2/18/2013 06:17:00 PM

From economist Tom Lawler:

While several MLS that I follow have been unusually late in releasing their monthly reports, based on the reports that I have seen I estimate that US existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.10 million in January, up about 3.2% from December’s seasonally-adjusted pace, and up 10.2% from last January’s seasonally-adjusted pace. January, of course, is seasonally by far the weakest month of the year for closed home sales, with the January “seasonal” factor (for total existing home sales) typically averaging about 67.5% (depending on the year’s calendar). The seasonal factor for a “neutral” month is, of course, 100%.

On the inventory front, my “best guess” is that the NAR’s existing home inventory estimate for January will be unchanged from December’s estimate.

CR Note: The NAR will report January existing home sales on Thursday, February 21st. The consensus is the NAR will report sales of 4.90 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis.

Based on Lawler's estimates, the NAR will report inventory at around 1.82 million units for January (same as December), and months-of-supply around 4.3 months (down from 4.4 months in December).   This would be the lowest months-of-supply since May 2005.