by Bill McBride on 3/21/2013
The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise in February
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January, and are 10.2 percent above the 4.52 million-unit level seen in February 2012.
Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 9.6 percent to 1.94 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply 2 at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 months in January, which was the lowest supply since May 2005. Listed inventory is 19.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.4-month supply.
Sales in February 2013 (4.98 million SAAR) were 0.8% higher than last month, and were 10.2% above the February 2012 rate.
The second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.
According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.94 million in February up from 1.77 million in January. Inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and inventor usually increases from the seasonal lows in December and January, and peaks in mid-to-late summer (so some of this increase was seasonal).
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.
Inventory decreased 19.2% year-over-year in February from February 2012. This is the 24th consecutive month with a YoY decrease in inventory, but the smallest YoY decrease since 2011 (I expect the YoY decrease to get smaller all year).
Months of supply increased to 4.7 months in February.
This was close to expectations of sales of 5.01 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 …