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Existing Home Sales: Slower As Northeast Weather Hampers Activity

May 22, 2019
Bottom Line: Existing home sales fell in April to 5.19 million annualized units, sharply below expectations, as late season winter weather slowed sales in the Northeast more than expected. Median and average prices rose as the composition of overall sales skewed towards more expensive markets in the West. While this is a slow start to the spring selling season overall, re-sales have averaged 5.29 million over the past 3 months and 5.17 million over the past 6 months, suggesting that the trend is still starting to improve after last year's sharp slowdown in activity.

Existing Home Sales FELL by 0.4% in April to 5.19 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 5.30 million. There were no revisions to prior data. Home re-sales are now 4.4% BELOW their year ago level and are 28.4% BELOW their September 2005 record high.

The Inventory of Homes Available for Sale ROSE by 9.6% to 1,830k and are now 1.7% ABOVE their year ago level. Because inventories increased while sales declined, the Months Supply ROSE to 4.2 months from 3.8 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 2.5% ABOVE their year ago levels while median home prices are 3.6% ABOVE their year ago levels.