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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Existing Home Sales Preview

by Calculated Risk on 9/22/2010 07:39:00 PM

Last month it was obvious that the consensus forecast for existing home sales was way too high. For July, the consensus was 4.65 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis, and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported sales of 3.83 million SAAR (the lowest sales rate in almost 15 years).

Tomorrow (Thursday), the NAR will report existing home sales for August at 10 AM ET (existing home sales are counted when transactions close). The consensus is for an increase to 4.1 million (SAAR) in August from 3.83 million in July, and down sharply from the 5.1 million SAAR in August 2009.

Housing economist Tom Lawler is also projecting 4.1 million SAAR.

Other key numbers will be the the level of inventory and months-of-supply.

  • Inventory will be close to 4 million houses (not seasonally adjusted).

  • That would give about 11.5 months-of-supply, and that level of supply will put downward pressure on house prices.

    Excluding July, the last time sales were this low was in 1997. And based on the MBA purchase index, I don't expect much of a sales increase in September or October either.