Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home Sales: Distressing Gap

by Calculated Risk on 6/23/2011 12:20:00 PM

The following graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through May. This graph starts in 1994, but the relationship has been fairly steady back to the '60s.

Then along came the housing bubble and bust, and the "distressing gap" appeared due mostly to distressed sales. The flood of distressed sales has kept existing home sales elevated, and depressed new home sales since builders can't compete with the low prices of all the foreclosed properties.

Distressing Gap Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

I expect this gap to close over the next few years once the number of distressed sales starts to decline.

Note: Existing home sales are counted when transactions are closed, and new home sales are counted when contracts are signed. So the timing of sales is different. Also the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is working on a benchmark revision for existing home sales numbers and I expect significant downward revisions to sales estimates for the last few years - perhaps as much as 10% to 15% for 2009 and 2010. Even with these revisions, most of the "distressing gap" will remain.

Earlier on May Home Sales:
New Home Sales in May at 319 Thousand SAAR
May Existing Home Sales: 4.81 million SAAR, 9.3 months of supply
• Graph Galleries: New Home sales and Existing Home sales