Thursday, August 18, 2011

Existing Home Sales: Comments and NSA Graph

by Calculated Risk on 8/18/2011 01:14:00 PM

A few comments and a graph (of course):

• First, from Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Lowest in Over 50 Years

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates, fixed and adjustable, reaching all-time record lows ... The 30-year fixed averaged 4.15 percent, breaking the previous record low of 4.17 percent set November 11, 2010.
• The NAR reported that inventory decreased in July from June, and that inventory is off 8.9% from July 2010. Other data sources suggest that the NAR is overstating inventory (inventory will be part of the coming revisions). Inventory is probably down more year-over-year (YoY) than the NAR reported.

• The NAR provided an update on the timing of the "benchmark revisions":
Update on Benchmark Revisions: ... Preliminary data based on the new benchmark is expected to be available for review by professional economists in coming weeks. This process is expected to take some time before finalized revisions can be published to address any issues that may surface in the review process and to update monthly seasonal adjustment factors; NAR is committed to providing accurate, reliable data. Publication of the revisions is not likely before this fall, but we expect to provide a notice one month in advance of the publication date.
This revision is expected to show significantly fewer homes sold over the last few years (perhaps 10% to 15% fewer homes in 2010 than originally reported), and also fewer homes for sale.

• The following graph shows existing home sales Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Existing Home Sales NSA Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The red columns are for 2011.

Sales NSA are above last July - of course sales declined sharply last year following the expiration of the tax credit in June 2010.

The level of sales is still elevated due to investor buying. The NAR noted:
All-cash sales accounted for 29 percent of transactions in July, unchanged from June; they were 30 percent in June 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

First-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in July, up from 31 percent in June; they were 38 percent in July 2010. Investors accounted for 18 percent of purchase activity in July compared with 19 percent in June and 19 percent in July 2010.

Earlier:
• Philly Fed Survey: "Regional manufacturing activity has dipped significantly"
Existing Home Sales in July: 4.67 million SAAR, 9.4 months of supply
Existing Home Sales graphs