Existing Home Sales: Rebound Follows Slow September

November 21, 2019
Bottom Line: Existing home sales rose a touch less than expected in October after a slowdown in September. Still, the trend is improving modestly. Three- and six-month average annualized unit sales are 5.44 and 5.40 million, well above the 12-month average of 5.29 million units. The pace of the last three- and six-months is also above that of 2018 (5.34), while still below that of 2017 (5.53). Inventory levels fell sharply in October, driving months' supply back down to 3.89, still slightly above the average for 2018. Prices were still higher than year-ago levels but fell over the last three months. Overall, the trend in existing home sales is consistent with most housing data showing continued modest improvement after 2018's weakness. Existing Home Sales ROSE by 1.9% in October to 5.46 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 5.49 million. The prior month was revised down from 5.38 to 5.36 million. Home re-sales are now 4.6% ABOVE their year ago level but are 24.7% BELOW their September 2005 record high. The Inventory of Homes Available for Sale FELL by 2.7% to 1,770k and are now 4.3% BELOW their year ago level. Because inventories declined while sales increased, the Months Supply FELL to 3.9 months from 4.1 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 4.7% ABOVE their year ago levels while median home prices are 6.2% ABOVE their year ago levels.