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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lawler: Early Look at Existing Home Sales in September

by Calculated Risk on 10/17/2013 05:27:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on local realtor association/board/MLS reports I’ve seen so far, I estimate that existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.26 million in September, down 4% from August’s seasonally-adjusted pace. While unadjusted sales this September showed faster YOY growth than was the case in August, business-day related seasonal factor differences, combined with a lower year-ago “comp” for September relative to August, are the reasons why the faster YOY growth translates into a lower monthly SA sales pace.

[CR Note: on adjustments, see table below]

On the inventory front, data from various local listings trackers, combined with local realtor association/board/MLS reports, would suggest that the number of existing homes for sale at the end of September was down only slightly from August. However, NAR inventory estimates typically show larger monthly declines in September than listings data and publicly-available realtor reports would suggest, for reasons that aren’t clear. For example, NAR estimates suggest that the number of existing homes for sale fell by 9.6% from the end of last August to the end of last September, a drop that vastly exceeded both what available listings data and local realtor reports would have suggested. If the NAR’s inventory estimate for this September were down 3.56% from August’s estimate, then this September’s inventory estimate would be unchanged from last September’s. Such a result is quite possible.

Finally, local realtor/MLS/board reports suggest that the NAR’s median home sales estimate will show significantly slower YOY growth for September than for August My best estimate is that the NAR’s estimate for the median existing SF home sales price in September will be around $198,800, up 11.1% from last September.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to report September existing home sales on Monday, October 21st.

As Lawler noted, there is a chance that the NAR will report inventory flat year-over-year for September (although it will probably be down slightly).

YOY Growth, Existing Home Sales, 2013 vs. 2012
 UnadjustedSeasonally AdjustedDifference% Difference, Business Days