Monday, October 17, 2016

Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in September

by Bill McBride on 10/17/2016 05:20:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on publicly-available state and local realtor/MLS reports from across the country released through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in September, up 4.1% from August’s preliminary pace and up 2.0% from last September’s seasonally-adjusted pace.

Local realtor/MLS data also suggest that existing home listings in aggregate declined slightly last month, and I project that the inventory of existing homes for sale as estimated by the NAR for the end of August will be 1.99 million, down by about 2.5% from August’s preliminary estimate and down 9.1% from last September. Finally, I project that the NAR’s estimate of the median single-family existing home sales price for September will be $236,700, up 6.0% from last September.

Some readers will probably remember that my forecast for existing home sales for August – SAAR of 5.49 million, was both above consensus and above the NAR’s preliminary estimate (SAAR of 5.33 million). I attributed my miss partly to a misread of likely seasonal factors, and partly to the fact that my “early sample” proved not to be a good reflection of the entire market. Few probably recall, however, that my forecast for last August’s existing home sales number was similarly too high, and I also attributed that miss to the same factor’s as this August’s mix. My projection for September’s EHS, which I posted on October 16, 2015 (SAAR of 5.56 million) was almost spot on (the NAR’s preliminary EHS estimate was 5.55 million).

Sometimes it’s a good idea to review your own history!

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to release September existing home sales on Thursday, October 20th. The consensus is for 5.35 million SAAR in September.