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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Comments on August Existing Home Sales

by Calculated Risk on 9/19/2019 11:55:00 AM

Earlier: NAR: Existing-Home Sales Increased to 5.49 million in August

A few key points:

1) Existing home sales were up 2.6% year-over-year (YoY) in August.  This was the second consecutive YoY increase - following 16 consecutive months with a YoY decrease in sales.

2) Inventory is still low, and was down 2.6% year-over-year (YoY) in August.

3) As usual, housing economist Tom Lawler's forecast was closer to the NAR report than the consensus. See: Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in August.   The consensus was for sales of 5.38 million SAAR.  Lawler estimated the NAR would report 5.42 million SAAR in July, and the NAR actually reported 5.49 million SAAR.

Existing Home Sales YoY Click on graph for larger image.

4) Year-to-date sales are down about 2.6% compared to the same period in 2018.   On an annual basis, that would put sales around 5.20 million in 2019.  Sales slumped at the end of 2018 and in January 2019 due to higher mortgage rates, the stock market selloff, and fears of an economic slowdown.

The comparisons will be easier towards the end of this year, and with lower mortgage rates, sales might even finish the year unchanged or even up from 2018.

Existing Home Sales NSAThe second graph shows existing home sales Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Sales NSA in August (534,000, red column) were below sales in August 2018 (539,000, NSA). There were fewer selling days in August 2019 than in 2018.

Overall this was a solid report.