Existing-Home Sales: Down 2.7% in March
This morning's release of the March Existing-Home Sales showed that sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units from the previous month's 5.93 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 5.8 million. The latest number represents a 2.7% decrease from the previous month and a 4.5% decrease YoY.
Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.
WASHINGTON (April 20, 2022) – Existing-home sales decreased in March, marking two consecutive months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Month-over-month, sales in March waned in three of the four major U.S. regions while holding steady in the West. Sales were down across each region year-over-year.
Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dipped 2.7% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million in March. Year-over-year, sales fell 4.5% (6.04 million in March 2021).
"The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double-digits." [Full Report]
In terms of median home sales prices, here's the latest:
The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in March was $375,300, up 15.0% from March 2021 ($326,300), as prices rose in each region. This marks 121 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.
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 for the last twelve months.
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 19.8% 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 10.3% above the NAR's January 2000 estimate. The population-adjusted version is 6.8% 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 May 19.