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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/12/2014 04:06:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on local realtor/MLS reports I have seen across the country, I estimate that US existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 4.60 million in February, down 0.4% from January’s seasonally adjusted pace. There is little doubt that severe weather in many parts of the country contributed to last month’s weak sales, as was the case in many areas in January.

Some of the biggest YOY declines in sales, however, were not in areas with “bad” weather, but where (1) there were big YOY declines in “distressed” sales, (2) big YOY declines in “investor” purchases; (3) big rebounds in home prices over the past year+; and (4) no growth, or in several area declines in primary-residence home purchases.

CR Note: Based on Lawler's estimate, sales will be down about 7% from the February 2013 sales rate of 4.95 million. Some of this weakness is weather related, but there are other factors (as Lawler noted there are fewer distressed sales, less investor buying, and higher prices).