Monday, March 23, 2015

Existing Home Sales in February: 4.88 million SAAR, Inventory down slightly Year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 3/23/2015 10:05:00 AM

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Slightly Improve in February, Price Growth Gains Steam

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Sales are 4.7 percent higher than a year ago and above year-over-year totals for the fifth consecutive month. ...

Total housing inventory at the end of February increased 1.6 percent to 1.89 million existing homes available for sale, but remains 0.5 percent below a year ago (1.90 million). For the second straight month, unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace.
Existing Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

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

Sales in February (4.88 million SAAR) were 1.2% higher than last month, and were 4.7% above the February 2014 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.89 million in February from 1.86 million in January.   Headline inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and inventory usually decreases to the seasonal lows in December and January, and peaks in mid-to-late summer.

The third graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in reported existing home inventory and months-of-supply. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, it really helps to look at the YoY change. Note: Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory.

Year-over-year Inventory Inventory decreased 0.5% year-over-year in February compared to February 2014.  

Months of supply was at 4.6 months in February.

This was slightly below expectations of sales of 4.94 million (Right at economist Tom Lawler's forecast of 4.87 million).  For existing home sales, a key number is inventory - and inventory is still low.    I'll have more later ...