Existing Home Sales Drop 6th Consecutive Month

Existing home sales declined 3.4% in September. This was the 6th month and the 5th month below the consensus estimate.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September. Sales are now down 4.1 percent from a year ago (5.37 million in September 2017).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions of the country. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2017 ($247,600). September’s price increase marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased from 1.91 million in August to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.86 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 last month and 4.2 months a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales in the Northeast decreased 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 680,000, 5.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $286,200, which is up 4.1 percent from September 2017.
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales remained the same as last month at an annual rate of 1.28 million in September, but are still down 1.5 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $200,200, up 1.9 percent from last year.
  • South: Existing-home sales in the South decreased 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.11 million in September, down from 2.12 million a year ago. The median price in the South was $223,900, up 3.0 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.08 million in September, 12.2 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $388,500, up 4.1 percent from September 2017.

Homebuilders Slammed Again

It should now be pretty clear that housing has peaked this cycle.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments
No. 1-8
Realist
Realist

Everyone manipulates charts to try to prove a point. Mish, show us the same chart with the sales axis shown from 0-6000 rather than 4000-6000.

oudaveguy98
oudaveguy98

Thanks for this posting and the accompanying analysis; really helpful versus msm reporting, obfuscation, cheerleading.......

KidHorn
KidHorn

Near where I live in suburban DC. Lots of very expensive town homes being built but I don't think they're selling. Maybe the builders are hoping Amazon moves here.

bradw2k
bradw2k

Zillow says Portland market is "Cold" now. I believe they said it was "Hot" a year ago. But they are ever the optimists: "Portland home values have gone up 0.8% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 2.3% within the next year." Good luck with that.

millynical
millynical

This just underscores peak un-affordability, the affluent have begun to taper off as rates have increased because they are the only ones that can afford the average priced home and as rates for second mortgages have sky-rocketed. Renters would still love to get in at these rates, but can't due to lack of savings and over-priced homes relative to incomes. Starting to see homes finally lowering offers in Denver area now that the "throw it at the wall see if it sticks price" isn't working anymore, and also noticing many that were previously listed as rentals being put on the market.

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