Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NAR: "Existing-Home Sales Rebound 3.0 Percent in February"

by Bill McBride on 3/21/2018 10:12:00 AM

From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Rebound 3.0 Percent in February

Despite consistently low inventory levels and faster price growth, existing-home sales bounced back in February after two straight months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sizeable sales increases in the South and West offset declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in February from 5.38 million in January. After last month’s increase, sales are now 1.1 percent above a year ago.
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Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 4.6 percent to 1.59 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 8.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.73 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 33 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace (3.8 months a year ago).
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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 January (5.54 million SAAR) were 3.0% higher than last month, and were 1.1% above the February 2017 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.59 million in February from 1.52 million in January.   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 8.1% year-over-year in February compared to February 2017.  

Months of supply was at 3.4 months in February.

Sales were above the consensus view. For existing home sales, a key number is inventory - and inventory is still low. I'll have more later ...