Existing-Home Sales Slide in April
This morning's release of the April Existing-Home Sales decreased from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million units. The Investing.com consensus was for 5.56 million. The latest number represents a 2.5% decrease from the previous month and a 1.4% decrease year-over-year.
Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says this spring’s staggeringly low inventory levels caused existing sales to slump in April. “The root cause of the underperforming sales activity in much of the country so far this year continues to be the utter lack of available listings on the market to meet the strong demand for buying a home,” he said. “Realtors® say the healthy economy and job market are keeping buyers in the market for now even as they face rising mortgage rates. However, inventory shortages are even worse than in recent years, and home prices keep climbing above what many home shoppers are able to afford.” [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 Population-Adjusted Reality
Now let's examine the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates show a 17.9% 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 4.4% above the NAR's January 2000 estimate. The population-adjusted version is 10.5% 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.
The next release of existing home sales will be on June 20.