Economy

Economic Data Roundup (12/19/2018)

12/19/18 12:00 PM

Existing home sales in America rose by 1.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. That was the second monthly increase in a row and better than expected. Regionally, existing home sales in November lifted in the Northeast (+7.2 percent), the Midwest (+5.5 percent), and the South (+2.3 percent) but fell in the West (-6.3 percent). Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, added that it is the West region “where consumers have expressed the weakest sentiment about home buying, largely due to lack of affordable housing inventory.”

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On a year-over-year basis, though, all regions of the country have seen a marked slowdown in home sales, and properties typically stayed on the market for 42 days in November, up from 36 days in October and 40 days a year ago. On the bright side, the median selling price for an existing home in November was $257,700. That was the first monthly increase since June and provides another needed piece of evidence that 2018’s weakness in the housing market may just be a healthy correction rather than a complete collapse akin to 2006-2008. Moreover, nearly half of the homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month, and first-time buyers were responsible for 33 percent of November’s total sales, up from both last month and a year ago.

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Sources: Econoday, NAR, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch