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Existing Home Sales: Sales Fall As Prices Increase on Tight Supply

March 22, 2017
Bottom Line: After a strong start to the year, sales fell in February. While months' supply moved up in February as sales fell, inventories remain historically low. That has continued to put upward pressure on home prices, which is likely keeping activity modest. Realtors reported that all-cash sales remain high, 27% of transactions, up from 23% in January and 25% a year ago. Many of the all-cash buyers are investors, who accounted for 17% of total transactions in February.

Existing Home Sales FELL by 3.7% in February to 5.48 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 5.55 million. There were no revisions to prior data. Home re-sales are now 5.4% ABOVE their year ago level but are 24.4% BELOW their September 2005 record high.

  • 43.1% of single family homes sold were priced in between 100k to 250k and 30.9% of single family homes sold were priced in between 250k to 500k.
  • Single family home sales are down 2.2% year-over-year for prices in between 100k to 250k and are up 10.6% for prices in between 250k to 500k.

The Inventory of Homes Available for Sale ROSE by 4.2% to 1,750k but are still 6.4% BELOW their year ago level. Because inventories increased while sales declined, the Months Supply ROSE to 3.8 months from 3.5 months. This is still well BELOW its July 2010 cyclical peak of 12.4 (which was its highest level since 1982) and even BELOW the 6 month level that is considered 'normal'.

Home Prices ROSE compared to their year ago levels. Average home prices are 5.8% ABOVE their year ago levels while median home prices are 7.7% ABOVE their year ago levels.