Existing Home Sales Slide 2.2%...

by Barry Ritholtz....The Big Picture


We see more evidence that next leg down in Housing has begun, as sales of existing houses fell 2.2% to an annual run rate of 5.66 million sales. These transactions include tax subsidized contracts signed by April 30 and closing by May 31st. Hallucinogenic economists had actually forecast a rise to a 6.12 million rate, according to a Bloomberg survey of 74 stoners.

We haven’t looked at the usual idiotic blatherings from the National Association of Realtors in quite some time. For sh__s and giggles, let’s have a gander at their latest, to see if they are still maintaining their traditional high standards of alcohol consumption.

Ahhh, the Realtor crowd rarely disappoints. The Headline — “May Shows a Continued Strong Pace for Existing-Home Sales” — reveals their inability to separate facts from wishful thinking. Such is what happens when “Spin” is your religion.

Let’s ignore their usual foolishness, and go straight for the data:

• Home resales decreased by 2.2%
• Home Sales are up 19.2% from 2009
• April’s Sales (Tax incentive included) were revised to +8%.
• Seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million units
• May 2009 median existing-home prices was $179,600, up 2.7% from 2009
• Distressed home sales were 31% of all sales, vs 33% in April (33% in May 2009)
• Raw unsold inventory is 1.1% above a year ago.
• The existing supply of homes for sale is 3.89 million units, an 8.3-month supply (this does not include shadow inventory)
• First-time buyers purchased 46% of homes in May, down from 49% in April
• Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 16 out of 20 metropolitan statistical versus May 2009.
• Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 6.8% (SAAR of 680,000 in May.
• Condos/co-ops sales were 32.6% percent above May 2009.
• Median existing condo price was $181,300, up 3.4% from a year ago.

This was the first monthly decrease in sales after 2 consecutive increases — and right into the teeth of seasonal strength. That’s not very good.


Click for ginormous chart

Chart courtesy of Calculated Risk


Source: May Shows a Continued Strong Pace for Existing-Home Sales
NAR, June 22, 2010