by Bill McBride on 4/22/2013
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in March from a downwardly revised 4.95 million in February, but remain 10.3 percent higher than the 4.46 million-unit pace in March 2012.
Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 1.6 percent to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in February. Listed inventory remains 16.8 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply.
Sales in March 2013 (4.92 million SAAR) were 0.6% lower than last month, and were 10.3% above the March 2012 rate.
According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.93 million in March up from 1.90 million in February. Inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and inventory 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 16.8% year-over-year in March compared to March 2012. This is the 25th 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 March.
This was below expectations of sales of 5.03 million, but close to Tom Lawler’s forecast. For existing home sales, the key number is inventory – and the sharp year-over-year decline in inventory is a positive for housing. This was a solid report. I’ll have more later …