Friday, April 21, 2017

NAR: "Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March"

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2017 10:09:00 AM

From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February. March's sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).
emphasis added
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 (5.71 million SAAR) were 4.4% higher than last month, and were 5.9% above the March 2016 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.83 million in March from 1.75 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 last 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 6.6% year-over-year in March compared to March 2016.  

Months of supply was at 3.8 months in March.

This was above consensus expectations. For existing home sales, a key number is inventory - and inventory is still low. I'll have more later ...