Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Existing Home Sales in March: 5.19 million SAAR, Inventory up 2.0% Year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 4/22/2015 10:01:00 AM

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Spike in March

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February—the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and are now 10.4 percent above a year ago, the highest annual increase since August 2013 (10.7 percent). ...

Total housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.3 percent to 2.00 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 2.0 percent above a year ago (1.96 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.7 months in February.
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 March (5.19 million SAAR) were 6.1% higher than last month, and were 10.4% above the March 2014 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 2.00 million in March from 1.90 million in February.   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 increased 2.0% year-over-year in March compared to March 2014.  

Months of supply was at 4.6 months in March.

This was above expectations of sales of 5.03 million (Right at economist Tom Lawler's forecast of 5.18 million).  For existing home sales, a key number is inventory - and inventory is still low but increasing.    I'll have more later ...