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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lawler: Early Look at Existing Home Sales in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/17/2013 04:03:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on the limited amount of local realtor reports I’ve seen, I estimate that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 4.89 million in March, down from February’s preliminary seasonally adjusted pace, and up 9.6% from last March’s seasonally adjusted pace. I estimated that unadjusted sales last month were up 6.3% from last March, and that the lower day count will result in a lower seasonal factor this March vs. last March.

I should note that even after getting many of the late realtor reports for February, my methodology shows a smaller YOY increase in unadjusted existing home sales than that shown in last month’s NAR report – suggesting either an “issue” with my methodology or an “issue” with the NAR’s February report.

Based on the wide sample of realtor reports I have for February, I would have estimated that unadjusted existing home sales this February were about 4.4% higher than last February’s pace. The NAR, in contrast, reported a YOY gain of 6.3% -- with existing SF home sales showing a YOY increase of 4.4% but existing condo/co-op sales showing a puzzling high YOY gain of 20.0%, with condo sales in the South showing a YOY increase of 29.4%.   In addition, the NAR reported a monthly increase in the inventory of existing condos/coops for sale of 33.5%, driven by reported “months’ supply” combined with the huge jump in sales. These condo/coop sales and inventory numbers seem “off” to me, but I might be off as well.

CR Note: The NAR will report March existing home sales next Monday, April 22nd.