US: Existing Home Sales


Mon Sep 21 09:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
Existing Home Sales - Level - SAAR 5.500M 5.400M to 5.600M 5.31M 5.59M 5.58M
Existing Home Sales - M/M Change -4.8% 2.0% 1.8%
Existing Home Sales - Yr/Yr Change 6.2% 10.3%

Highlights
Though slowing in August, existing home sales are still healthy and trending higher. Existing home sales came in at a lower-than-expected 5.31 million annual rate in August which is the lowest since April. July was revised down just slightly but is still an 8-year high at 5.58 million. At 6.2 percent, growth in year-on-year sales is the lowest since February. The year-on-year median price, up only 4.7 percent to $228,700, is the lowest since August 2014. The report cites no special reasons behind August's softness, but notes that it follows prior strength, in fact six months of strength.

With the in dip sales, supply relative to sales is less tight, at 5.2 months from 4.9 months in the prior two months. But there's still a lack of homes on the market, evidenced by a comparison with the year-ago supply at 5.6 months.

Details show high mid-single digit declines across regions except the Northeast where the August sales rate was unchanged. Year-on-year, data are very well balanced with high mid-single gains for all.

Despite low mortgage rates and soft prices, the housing sector isn't exactly on fire. Watch for FHFA house prices on tomorrow's calendar, which are expected to rise, and also for new home sales on Thursday which are also expected to rise.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
A step back is expected for existing home sales where, after three straight months of gains, the consensus is calling for a 1.7 percent decline in August. Lack of homes on the market is a leading factor holding down sales.

Definition
Existing home sales tally the number of previously constructed homes, condominiums and co-ops in which a sale closed during the month. Existing homes (also known as home resales) account for a larger share of the market than new homes and indicate housing market trends. (National Association of Realtors)



Description
This provides a gauge of not only the demand for housing, but the economic momentum. People have to be feeling pretty comfortable and confident in their own financial position to buy a house. Furthermore, this narrow piece of data has a powerful multiplier effect through the economy, and therefore across the markets and your investments. By tracking economic data such as home resales, investors can gain specific investment ideas as well as broad guidance for managing a portfolio.

Even though home resales don't always create new output, once the home is sold, it generates revenues for the realtor. It brings a myriad of consumption opportunities for the buyer.

Refrigerators, washers, dryers and furniture are just a few items home buyers might purchase. The economic "ripple effect" can be substantial especially when you think a hundred thousand new households around the country are doing this every month. Since the economic backdrop is the most pervasive influence on financial markets, home resales have a direct bearing on stocks, bonds and commodities. In a more specific sense, trends in the existing home sales data carry valuable clues for the stocks of home builders, mortgage lenders and home furnishings companies.