Monday, April 23, 2018

NAR: "Existing-Home Sales Climb 1.1 Percent in March"

by Bill McBride on 4/23/2018 10:12:00 AM

From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Climb 1.1 Percent in March

Existing-home sales grew for the second consecutive month in March, but lagging inventory levels and affordability constraints kept sales activity below year ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in March from 5.54 million in February. Despite last month's increase, sales are still 1.2 percent below a year ago.
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Total housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.7 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.2 percent lower than a year ago (1.80 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 34 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.8 months a year ago).
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 (5.60 million SAAR) were 1.1% higher than last month, but were 1.2% below the March 2017 rate.

The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

Existing Home Inventory According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.67 million in March from 1.59 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 7.2% year-over-year in March compared to March 2017.  

Months of supply was at 3.6 months in March.

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 ...