by Bill McBride on 10/19/2012
The NAR reports: September Existing-Home Sales Down but Prices Continue to Improve
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in September from an upwardly revised 4.83 million in August, but are 11.0 percent above the 4.28 million-unit pace in September 2011.
Total housing inventory at the end September fell 3.3 percent to 2.32 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.0-month supply in August. Listed inventory is 20.0 percent below a year ago when there was an 8.1-month supply.
This graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993.
Sales in September 2012 (4.75 million SAAR) were 1.7% lower than last month, and were 11.0% above the September 2011 rate.
The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.
According to the NAR, inventory declined to 2.32 million in September down from 2.40 million in August. Inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and usually inventory increases from the seasonal lows in December and January to the seasonal high in mid-summer.
The last graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in reported existing home inventory and months-of-supply. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, it really helps to look at the YoY change. Note: Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory.
Months of supply declined to 5.9 months in September.
This was at expectations of sales of 4.75 million. For existing home sales, the key number is inventory – and the sharp year-over-year decline in inventory is a positive for housing. I’ll have more later …