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Friday, June 14, 2013

Lawler: Early Look at Existing Home Sales in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/14/2013 03:51:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on local realtor/MLS reports I’ve seen so far across the country, I estimate that existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.2 million in May, up 4.6% from April’s pace and up 13.3% from last May’s pace.

On the inventory front, data from inventory trackers might suggest that the inventory of existing homes in May increased by 3 1/2 to 4%. As I’ve noted before, however, the NAR’s inventory estimates don’t always track “listings” month-to-month, with the NAR’s inventory estimate for April always showing an “out-sized” gain, and May showing a smaller increase/larger decline, relative to “listings trackers.” Based on limited historical data, I’d estimate that the NAR’s inventory estimate for May will be up 1.9% from April, which would result in a year-over-year decline of 10.9%.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to report May existing home sales next Thursday, June 20th, and the consensus is for sales of 5.0 million.

Based on Tom's estimates, this would put inventory at around 2.2 million for May, and months-of-supply around 5.1. This would still be a very low level of inventory - probably the lowest for May since 2001 or so - but this would be the smallest year-over-year decline in inventory since 2011 (when inventory started to decline sharply).