Friday, April 10, 2015

Lawler: Very Early Read on Existing Home Sales in March, "sizable monthly gain"

by Bill McBride on 4/10/2015 03:59:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on the limited number of local realtor/MLS reports I’ve seen from across the country, I estimate that existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.10 million in March, up 4.5% from February’s pace and up 8.5% from last March’s seasonally-adjusted pace. Normally I wait until I have a larger sample of local reports to project the NAR sales number to publish a projection, and my “spot” estimate is subject to a wider-than-normal forecast error. I have, however, seen a sufficient number of reports to project that March existing home sales – again, as measured by the NAR – will show a sizable monthly gain.

On the inventory front, I project that the NAR’s measure of the inventory of existing homes for sale at the end of March will be 1.96 million, up 3.7% from February and unchanged from a year ago. Finally, I estimate that the NAR’s estimate of the median existing SF home sales price in March will be about 8% higher than a year earlier.

The NAR is scheduled to release its March existing home sales report on April 22nd. I will send out an updated projection near the middle of next week.