Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in February

by Bill McBride on 3/17/2016 03:55:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports from across the country released through today, I project that US existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.2 million in February, down 4.9% from January’s preliminary pace and up 4.6% from last January’s seasonally adjusted pace. On an unadjusted basis I project that the year-over-year % increase in home sales in February was pretty close to January’s YOY gain. However, while this January had one fewer business day than last January, this February (in a Leap Year) had one more business day than last February. As a result, while the YOY increase in seasonally adjusted sales in January (11.5%) was well above the YOY gain in unadjusted sales (7.5%), the opposite should be the case in February.

On the inventory front, local realtor/MLS reports suggest that the NAR’s estimate of the number of existing homes for sale at the end of February should be about 1.84 million, up 1.1% from January and down 3.2% from a year earlier.

Finally, local realtor/MLS data suggest that the NAR’s estimate of the median existing single-family home sales price in February should be about 5.8% higher than last February.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to release February existing home sales on Monday, March 21st. The early consensus is for sales of 5.30 million SAAR.