US: Existing Home Sales


Thu Oct 22 09:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
Existing Home Sales - Level - SAAR 5.350M 5.250M to 5.500M 5.55M 5.31M 5.30M
Existing Home Sales - M/M Change 4.7% -4.8% -5.0%
Existing Home Sales - Yr/Yr Change 8.8% 6.2%

Highlights
Existing home sales bounced back very strongly in September, up 4.7 percent to nearly reverse the prior month's revised decline of 5.0 percent, a decline that now looks like an outlier. The month's annual sales rate, at 5.55 million, is just beyond Econoday's top-end forecast and the second best reading of the recovery. The year-on-year percentage gain, at plus 8.8 percent, is back where it was during the sales gains of the spring.

The gain is centered entirely in the single-family component which rose 5.3 percent to a 4.93 million rate to underscore the strength of demand. Sales of condos, which cost less, were unchanged at a 620,000 rate.

But the report's price data, in an echo of this morning's FHFA report, are on the soft side, down 2.9 percent for the median to $221,900. Year-on-year, the median is just over 6 percent, at 6.1 percent.

Prices may have to firm further to pull more homes into the market where supply is very thin, at 4.8 months vs 5.1 months in August and 5.4 months a year ago. Six months of supply is generally considered the balancing point for supply and demand. In actual numbers, there were 2.21 million existing homes up for sale in the month for a 2.6 monthly decline and a 3.1 percent year-on-year decline.

Regional sales data are remarkably even with the Northeast showing an outsized monthly gain of 8.6 percent for an 11.8 percent year-on-year rise. The Midwest is out in front in year-on-year terms, at plus 12.0 percent, with the South, which is by far the largest housing region, lagging at the back with a 5.7 percent year-on-year gain. All regions posted gains in the month.

This report, which wraps up a busy and mostly positive week for housing data, is a big plus for the housing outlook, suggesting that demand for existing homes may be catching up with demand for new homes.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
Existing home sales are expected to bounce back 0.8 percent to a 5.35 million annual rate in September following a sharp 4.8 percent drop in August to 5.31 million. But the drop followed a run of prior strength and did little to slow what has been this year's solid upward trend for existing home sales. Still, the August report was weak and included the lowest median price, at $228,700, since August last year.

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.