Friday, February 16, 2018

Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in January

by Bill McBride on 2/16/2018 03:35:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports from across the country released through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in January, down 1.6% from December’s preliminary estimate and down 3.7% from last January’s seasonally-adjusted pace. Unadjusted sales should show a much smaller YOY decline, reflecting the higher business day count this January compared to last January.

(Note that the January EHS report will include updated seasonal factors which will result in revisions to the seasonally-adjusted data for the past several years. I have attempted to incorporate seasonal factor revisions in my forecast).

On the inventory front, realtor/MLS data suggest that home listings showed a smaller YOY decline last month compared to December, and my “best guess” is that the NAR’s estimate of the inventory of existing homes for sale in January will be 1.54 million, up 4.1% from the December estimate and down 8.3% from a year ago.

Finally, local realtor/MLS data would be consistent with a YOY increase in the NAR’s estimate of the median existing SF home sales price of about 6.5%.

CR Note: Existing home sales for December are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 21st. The consensus is for sales of 5.60 million SAAR.