Economy

Economic Data Roundup (03/21/2018)

3/21/18 12:00 PM

iStock-91830963.jpgA report released this morning by the National Association of Realtors showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales (due out on Friday), rose by 3.0 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million units. That was the first monthly increase since November, much better than expected, and a large enough gain to lift the year-over-year growth rate to 1.1 percent. Regionally, existing home sales fell in the Northeast (-12.3 percent) and the Midwest (-2.4 percent) last month but rose in the West (11.4 percent) and the South (6.6 percent).

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Total housing inventory jumped 4.6 percent in February to 1.59 million existing homes available for sale, although that is still 8.1 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $241,700 in February, up 5.9 percent over the past year and therefore the 72nd consecutive month of annual growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, added that “Mortgage rates are at their highest level in nearly four years, at a time when home prices are still climbing at double the pace of wage growth. Homes for sale are going under contract a week faster than a year ago, which is quite remarkable given weakening affordability conditions and extremely tight supply. To fully satisfy demand, most markets right now need a substantial increase in new listings.”.

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Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, Bloomberg, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch