Monday, January 20, 2020

Existing Home Sales: Lawler vs. the Consensus

by Calculated Risk on 1/20/2020 09:46:00 AM

The NAR is scheduled to release Existing Home Sales for December at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, Jan 22nd.

The consensus is for 5.43 million SAAR, up from 5.35 million in November. Housing economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will report sales of 5.40 million SAAR and that inventory will be down 11.1% year-over-year. Based on Lawler's estimate, I expect existing home sales to be close to the consensus.

Housing economist Tom Lawler has been sending me his predictions of what the NAR will report for almost 10 years.  The table below shows the consensus for each month, Lawler's predictions, and the NAR's initially reported level of sales. 

Lawler hasn't always been closer than the consensus, but usually when there has been a fairly large spread between Lawler's estimate and the "consensus", Lawler has been closer.

Last month the consensus was for sales of 5.45 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis. Lawler estimated the NAR would report 5.43 million, and the NAR reported 5.35 million (as usual Lawler was closer than the consensus).

NOTE: There have been times when Lawler "missed", but then he pointed out an apparent error in the NAR data - and the subsequent revision corrected that error.  As an example, see: The “Curious Case” of Existing Home Sales in the South in April

Over the last 10 years, the consensus average miss was 141 thousand, and  Lawler's average miss was 67 thousand.

Existing Home Sales, Forecasts and NAR Report
millions, seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR)
MonthConsensusLawlerNAR reported1
May-106.205.835.66
Jun-105.305.305.37
Jul-104.663.953.83
Aug-104.104.104.13
Sep-104.304.504.53
Oct-104.504.464.43
Nov-104.854.614.68
Dec-104.905.135.28
Jan-115.205.175.36
Feb-115.155.004.88
Mar-115.005.085.10
Apr-115.205.155.05
May-114.754.804.81
Jun-114.904.714.77
Jul-114.924.694.67
Aug-114.754.925.03
Sep-114.934.834.91
Oct-114.804.864.97
Nov-115.084.404.42
Dec-114.604.644.61
Jan-124.694.664.57
Feb-124.614.634.59
Mar-124.624.594.48
Apr-124.664.534.62
May-124.574.664.55
Jun-124.654.564.37
Jul-124.504.474.47
Aug-124.554.874.82
Sep-124.754.704.75
Oct-124.744.844.79
Nov-124.905.105.04
Dec-125.104.974.94
Jan-134.904.944.92
Feb-135.014.874.98
Mar-135.034.894.92
Apr-134.925.034.97
May-135.005.205.18
Jun-135.274.995.08
Jul-135.135.335.39
Aug-135.255.355.48
Sep-135.305.265.29
Oct-135.135.085.12
Nov-135.024.984.90
Dec-134.904.964.87
Jan-144.704.674.62
Feb-144.644.604.60
Mar-144.564.644.59
Apr-144.674.704.65
May-144.754.814.89
Jun-144.994.965.04
Jul-145.005.095.15
Aug-145.185.125.05
Sep-145.095.145.17
Oct-145.155.285.26
Nov-145.204.904.93
Dec-145.055.155.04
Jan-155.004.904.82
Feb-154.944.874.88
Mar-155.045.185.19
Apr-155.225.205.04
May-155.255.295.35
Jun-155.405.455.49
Jul-155.415.645.59
Aug-155.505.545.31
Sep-155.355.565.55
Oct-155.415.335.36
Nov-155.324.974.76
Dec-155.195.365.46
Jan-165.325.365.47
Feb-165.305.205.08
Mar-165.275.275.33
Apr-165.405.445.45
May-165.645.555.53
Jun-165.485.625.57
Jul-165.525.415.39
Aug-165.445.495.33
Sep-165.355.555.47
Oct-165.445.475.60
Nov-165.545.605.61
Dec-165.545.555.49
Jan-175.555.605.69
Feb-175.555.415.48
Mar-175.615.745.71
Apr-175.675.565.57
May-175.555.655.62
Jun-175.585.595.52
Jul-175.575.385.44
Aug-175.485.395.35
Sep-175.305.385.39
Oct-175.305.605.48
Nov-175.525.775.81
Dec-175.755.665.57
Jan-185.655.485.38
Feb-185.425.445.54
Mar-185.285.515.60
Apr-185.605.485.46
May-185.565.475.43
Jun-185.455.355.38
Jul-185.435.405.34
Aug-185.365.365.34
Sep-185.305.205.15
Oct-185.205.315.22
Nov-185.195.235.32
Dec-185.244.974.99
Jan-195.054.924.94
Feb-195.085.465.51
Mar-195.305.405.21
Apr-195.365.315.19
May-195.295.405.34
Jun-195.345.255.27
Jul-195.395.405.42
Aug-195.385.425.49
Sep-195.455.365.38
Oct-195.495.365.46
Nov-195.455.435.35
Dec-195.435.40---
1NAR initially reported before revisions.