Existing-Home Sales Surged in November
This morning's release of the November Existing-Home Sales increased from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million units. The Investing.com consensus was for 5.54 million. The latest number represents a 5.6% increase from the previous month and a 3.8% increase year-over-year.
Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home sales in most of the country expanded at a tremendous clip in November. “Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” he said. “As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable down payments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month. The odds of closing on a home are much better at the upper end of the market, where inventory conditions continue to be markedly better.” [Full Report]
For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which comes from the National Association of Realtors. The data since January 1999 was previously available in the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository and is now only available from January 2014. It can be found here.
Over this time frame, we clearly see the Real Estate Bubble, which peaked in 2005 and then fell dramatically. Sales were volatile for the first year or so following the Great Recession. The latest estimate puts us back to levels reached before the recession.
The Population-Adjusted Reality
Now let's examine the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates show a 17.5% increase in the US population since the turn of the century. The snapshot below is an overlay of the NAR's annualized estimates with a population-adjusted version.
Existing-home sales are 11.1% above the NAR's January 2000 estimate. The population-adjusted version is 4.4% below the turn-of-the-century sales.
Existing-Home Sales Median Prices for Single Family Homes
We've added a chart for the last 12 months of Existing-home sales median prices for single-family homes for reference.