Existing Home Sales Tumble 5.1%

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REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Existing home sales fell 5.1% month-over-month in January to an annualized pace of 4.62 million units.

This was worse than expectations for a 4.1% fall to an annualized pace of 4.67 million units.

December existing home sales were revised down to reflect a 0.8% rise. This compares with a 1% rise in December to an annualized pace of 4.87 million units.

The median existing-home price was up 10.7% on the year to $188,900. Meanwhile, total housing inventory was up 2.2% to 1.90 million, which represents a 4.9 month supply at the current sales pace.

Here's a look at the regional breakdown:

  • In the Northeast, existing home sales were down 3.1% on the month to an annual rate of 620,000, and were down 3.1% on the year. The median price was up 6.6% on the year to $241,000.
  • In the Midwest, existing home sales were down 7.1% to a pace on 1.04 million, and were down 8.8% on the year. The median price was up 7.6% on the year to $140,300.
  • In the South, existing home sales were down 3.5% on the month to an annual rate of 1.95 million, but were up 1.6% on the year. The median price was up 9.4% on the year to $161,500.
  • In the West, existing home sales fell 7.3% on the month, to a pace of 1.01 million, but were down 13.7% on the year. The median price was up 14.6% on the year to $273,500.

"Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in a press release. 

"Some housing activity will be delayed until spring. At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates. These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact."

Pending home sales, considered a leading indicator for future existing home sales, have been falling sharply. This suggests that existing home sales will be ticking lower.

"The bad news now is that the plunge in the Dec pending home sales index suggests completed sales have further to fall, and  could drop as low as 4.3M in Feb, down some 20% from their summer 2013 peak," Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics wrote in a note to clients.

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existing and pending home sales

Pantheon MacroEconomics



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