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EXISTING HOME SALES

  • Importance (A-F): This release merits a C.
  • Source: The National Association of Realtors.
  • Release Time: 10:00 ET around the 25th of the month (data for month prior).
  • Raw Data Available At: http://nar.realtor.com/news/releases.htm

The name speaks for itself - this report provides a measure of the level of sales of existing home sales. The report is considered a decent indicator of activity in the housing sector. Housing starts precede this report each month, but starts are a supply rather than demand-side indicator. Existing home sales precede the other key demand-side indicator of housing - new home sales - thus boosting the visibility of this report. Sales are highly dependent on mortgage rates, and will tend to react with a few months lag to changes in rates. Sales are also determined by the level of pent-up demand for housing - immediately after a recession, sales are typically quite strong due to the demand which accumulated through the recession.

The survey sample for existing home sales is larger than that of new home sales, making it somewhat less susceptible to large revisions. Both reports can see huge month-to-month swings in winter, when bad weather can significantly affect sales.

Aside from total sales, two other indicators are worth watching in this report -- the inventory of homes for sale and the median price. The inventory of homes for sale at the current sales pace is the inventory/sales ratio of the housing sector. For example, a 5.0 figure for inventory/sales indicates that the supply of homes for sale would be depleted within five months at the current sales pace. The lower this figure goes, the greater the need for new housing starts. The year/year change in the median price provides a good indication of inflation in home prices.


U.S. KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Auto and Truck Sales
Business Inventories
Chicago PMI
Conference Board Consumer Confidence
Construction Spending
Consumer Credit
CPI: Consumer Price Index
Durable Goods Orders
Employment Cost Index
Existing Home Sales
Export/Import Prices
Factory Orders
GDP: Gross Domestic Product
Housing Starts and Building Permits
Industrial Production
Initial Claims
International Trade
Leading Indicators
Money Supply
NAPM: National Association of Purchasing Managers
New Home Sales
Non-Manufacturing NAPM
Personal Income and Consumption
Philadelphia Fed Index
PPI: Producer Price Index
Productivity and Costs
Regional Manufacturing Surveys
Retail Sales
The Employment Report
Treasury Budget
University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
Weekly Chain Store Sales
Wholesale Trade
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