Economy

Economic Data Roundup (08/22/2018)

8/22/18 12:00 PM

A 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 tomorrow), fell by 0.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.340 million units. That was the 4th monthly decline in a row, worse than expected, and the slowest sales rate recorded since 2016. Regionally, existing home sales increased in the West (+4.4 percent) last month but fell in the Northeast (-8.3 percent), the Midwest (-1.6 percent), and the South (-0.4 percent).

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Total housing inventory slid by 0.5 percent in July to 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, and months’ supply held at 4.3 based on the current sales pace. Elsewhere, the median selling price fell to $269,600 last month, although this is still 4.5 percent higher compared to a year earlier and the 77th month of annual growth in a row. Young, first-time homebuyers with insufficient cash are being hurt the most by rising prices and mortgage rates, and essentially all of the sales gains over the past year have occurred in the $250K and up price range. NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun added that “too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market,” and stressed that “existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand.”

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Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch