Exisiting Home Sales Pop

Nar_20060323
Very strong existing home sales reported this morning — the immediate reaction was for yields to tick up, and equities to head south. I assume the strength led traders to conclude the Fed has more work to do.

I read the data as rather mixed. Inventory rose 5.2% in to a 5.3 months
supply, of 3.03 million, near an all-time record (3.04 million in 1986). Median prices were up 10.6%
year-over-year to $209,000.

And that chart at right shows that this may just be a bounce off of low levels; Very often, sales get put off for a variety of reasons, and we may be seeing the prior 3 months unfinsished business getting put to bed — hence, the bounce.

As much as I mock the retailers for their weather dependent excuses, nice weather does bring out the home shoppers, and we have had a much warmer-than-usual
winter — especially January (those sales may not show up til February).

Here’s the specifics via the WSJ:

The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing
single-family homes and condomiums rose by 5.2% in February to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 6.91 million units. Singe-family home sales rose 4.7%,
while sales of condominiums and co-ops jumped 8.8%.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate
for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.25% in February, up from
6.15% in January; the rate was 5.63% in February 2005.

The national median existing-home price was $209,000 in February,
up 10.6 % from $189,000 a year ago. The median is a the price where half of the
homes on the market sold for more and half sold for less.

I think the working assumption in the pits and on the floor may be "so much for One and Done."

Source:
Existing-Home Sales Rose By 5.2% in Latest Month
WALL STREET JOURNAL, March 23, 2006 10:17 a.m.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114312007081606265.html

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