Economic Data Roundup (05/20/2016)

5/20/16 12:00 PM

iStock_000009003675_Small.jpgA report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 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, rose by 1.7 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million units. This is a larger gain than economists had expected and a welcome continuation of growth following March’s 5.7 percent increase. Regionally, home sales lifted in the Midwest (+12.1 percent) and the Northeast (+2.8 percent) but declined in the South (-2.7 percent) and the West (-1.7 percent). The median selling price was $232,500 in April, a 6.3 percent gain compared to this same period last year and the 50thconsecutive month of annual growth. Altogether, existing home sales have expanded by 6.0 percent over the past twelve months but the pace of annual growth might have lost a bit of momentum as affordability remains a big headwind, particularly for young, first-time buyers. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun added that “The temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there's growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don't rise and price growth doesn't slow.”


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Sources: Econoday, Bloomberg, Twitter, ZH, NAR, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch