Existing Home Sales Tumble, Weakest Annual Growth Since January

Dominated by an 8.7% collapse in The West, existing home sales fell 3.4% in October MoM (worse than the 2.7% drop expected) to a 5.36mm SAAR. Year-over-year, existing home sales are up just 3.9% - the weakest since January. And finally, in a mind-numbing reality for The Fed's wealth creation plan, median home prices have now dropped for 4 months in a row.

This is the weakest growth in existing home sales since January..

 

By region, its extremely mixed...

October existing-home sales in the Northeast were at an annual rate of 760,000, unchanged from September and 8.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $248,900, which is 1.3 percent above October 2014.

 

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in October, but are 8.3 percent above October 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $172,300, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.

 

Existing-home sales in the South decreased 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.14 million in October, but are still 0.5 percent above October 2014. The median price in the South was $188,800, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

 

Existing-home sales in the West fell 8.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.16 million in October, but are still 2.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $319,000, which is 8.0 percent above October 2014.

But overall, home prices have now dropped for the last 4 months in a row...

As the high-end sales shrink...

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a sales cooldown in October was likely given the pullback in contract signings the last couple of months.

"New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets," he said. "Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales."

 

Adds Yun, "As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards even with moderately higher mortgage rates should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago."

First things first - October saw an epic rally in stocks worldwide; and we thought looiming rate hikes were a) a sign of strength, and b) going to bring forward sales as people rush to buy before it gets too expensive?

Charts: Bloomberg