Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lawler: Early Look at Existing Home Sales in April

by Bill McBride on 5/15/2013 05:31:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on a limited sample of reports from state and local realtor groups and/or MLS, I estimate that existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.03 million, up 2.2% from April’s disappointing pace.

On the inventory side, all entities tracking residential listings show a decent-sized increase in national listings from March to April, and local realtor reports suggest a gain as well – probably in the range of about 4%. However, for many years the NAR’s reported inventory gain in April has substantially exceeded that suggested by those who track residential listings, for reasons not readily apparent but that may reflect the timing of “pull-dates” by MLS in the NAR’s sample. Adjusting for this “observation,” my best guess is that the NAR’s existing home inventory number in April will be up 8.8% from March, and down 16.0% from last April.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to report April existing home sales next Wednesday, May 22nd. Based on Tom's estimates, this would put inventory at around 2.1 million for April, and months-of-supply around 5.0. This would still be a very low level of inventory - probably the lowest for April since 2001 or so - but this would be the smallest year-over-year decline in inventory since 2011 (when inventory started to decline sharply).

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