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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lawler: Comments on Existing home sales and FHA REO

by Calculated Risk on 5/22/2012 02:32:00 PM

Some comments from housing economist Tom Lawler:

The National Association of Realtors estimated that US existing home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April, up 3.4% from March’s downwardly revised (to 4.47 million from 4.48 million) pace and up 10.0% from last April’s pace. The NAR’s estimate exceeded my estimate based on regional tracking, though almost all of my “miss” was related to the NAR’s seasonal adjustment factor: while seasonally adjusted sales were up 10.0% YOY, unadjusted sales showed just a 6.7% YOY gain (I guess the timing of Easter was the reason; my bad).

The NAR also estimated that the inventory of existing homes for sale at the end of April totaled 2.540 million, up 9.5% from March’s downwardly revised (to 2.32 million from 2.37 million) level and down 20.6% from last April. This was pretty close to my “guess” for a 21% YOY decline, and today’s report continued the trend for the NAR’s inventory estimates to show significantly lower monthly gains (or larger declines) in March and significantly larger monthly gains in April than that suggested by actual listings data.

Finally, the NAR estimated that the median existing home sales price in April was $177,400, up a whopping 10.1% from last April. The median existing SF sales price last month was $178,000, up 10.4% from last April. According to the NAR, the median existing SF sales price in the Northeast showed a YOY gain of 10.9%; in the Midwest, 8.1%; in the South, 8.5%; and in the West, 14.7%. While I was looking for a YOY increase exceeding 5%, this gain was obviously a boatload larger. Based on regional data I’ve seen the gain in the Northeast that the NAR reported seemed particularly “whacky,” though other regions – including the West – seemed high as well (Phoenix had a YOY gain of around 24%, but that was an outlier!).

CR Note: Remember the median price is impacted by the change in mix, and there are fewer low end foreclosures for sale this year and that pushes up the median price.

Lawler on FHA REO:

HUD finally got around to releasing the Monthly Report to the FHA Commissioner for March, and one “stand-out” stat was the sharp rise in SF property conveyances in March. Here are some historical stats (from the current and past monthly commissioner reports).

The number of SF properties “conveyed” to FHA has been surprising low over the last year given the number of properties in the foreclosure process, and FHA had noted that servicing “issues” were artificially depressing conveyances. Obviously, that was not the case in March!

Monthly Report to FHA Commissioner
SF REO Inventory (EOM)ConveyancesSalesAdjustments

CR Note: This probably means FHA REO sales will increase in May and June.

Fannie, Freddie, FHA REOClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the combined REO inventory for Fannie, Freddie and the FHA.

The combined REO inventory is down to 209 thousand in Q1 2012, down about 16% from Q1 2011.

CR Note: Even though REO inventories are down, there are still more distressed sales coming because of all the loans 90+ days delinquent and in the foreclosure process.

Earlier on existing home sales:
Existing Home Sales in April: 4.62 million SAAR, 6.6 months of supply
Existing Home Sales: Inventory and NSA Sales Graph
Existing Home Sales graphs