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Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in August

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From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on August realtor association/board/MLS reports released so far, I estimate that existing home sales as measured by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million, down 0.6% from July’s pace and down 3.9% from last August’s seasonally adjusted pace. I also estimate that unadjusted sales last month were down about 6% from a year ago.

Based on realtor/MLS reports as well as other reports on home listings, I project that the NAR’s estimate of the number of existing homes for sales at the end of August will be 2.35 million, down 0.8% from July but up 6.3% from last August. Finally, I project that the NAR’s estimate of the median existing SF home sales price last month will be 7,500, up 3.7% from last August.

I also expect the NAR to revise downward its median existing SF home sales price for July to 2,600 from 3,900 – or to a YOY increase of 4.5% from a YOY increase of 5.1%. In the July report the NAR showed a YOY increase in the Northeast median existing SF home sales price of 2.7%, which was well above what state and local realtor reports would suggest.

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to release August existing home sales on Monday, September 22nd.

On inventory, if Lawler is correct, this would put inventory in August down about 2% compared to August 2012 – two years ago – when prices started increasing faster.  Now, with rising inventory, this should mean slower price increases.
Calculated Risk

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