Existing-Home Sales: Down 3.4% in May

This morning's release of the May Existing-Home Sales showed that sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.41 million units from the previous month's 5.6 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 5.39 million. The latest number represents a 3.4% decrease from the previous month and a 8.6% decrease YoY.

Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.

WASHINGTON (June 21, 2022) – Existing-home sales retreated for the fourth consecutive month in May, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Month-over-month sales declined in three out of four major U.S. regions, while year-over-year sales slipped in all four regions.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.41 million in May. Year-over-year, sales receded 8.6% (5.92 million in May 2021).

"Home sales have essentially returned to the levels seen in 2019 – prior to the pandemic – after two years of gangbuster performance," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Also, the market movements of single-family and condominium sales are nearly equal, possibly implying that the preference towards suburban living over city life that had been present over the past two years is fading with a return to pre-pandemic conditions." [Full Report]

In terms of median home sales prices, here's the latest:

The median existing-home price5 for all housing types in May was $407,600, up 14.8% from May 2021 ($355,000), as prices increased in all regions. This marks 123 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.

Existing Home Sales

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 Growth

Existing-home sales are 3.4% above the NAR's January 2000 estimate. The population-adjusted version is 12.7% below the turn-of-the-century sales.

The next release of existing home sales will be on June 21.