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  Existing Home Sales Increased 6.1% in March
Posted Under: Data Watch • Home Sales
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Implications: Sales of existing homes rebounded nicely in March, coming in at a 5.19 million annual rate, the best level since September 2013. Sales are up 10.4% from a year ago, and the underlying trend suggests more solid gains in the year ahead. Sales of distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) now account for only 10% of total sales, down from 14% a year ago. All-cash buyers are down to 24% of sales from 33% a year ago. As a result, even though total sales are up 10.4% from a year ago, non-cash sales (where the buyer uses a mortgage loan) are up 25.3%. What this means is that when distressed and all-cash sales eventually bottom out, total sales will start rising at a more rapid pace. So even though credit (but, not liquidity) remains relatively tight, we see evidence of a thaw, which suggests overall sales will climb at a faster pace in the year ahead. What's interesting is that the percentage of buyers using credit has increased as the Fed tapered and then ended QE. Those predicting a housing crash without more QE were completely wrong. Another good sign is that the inventory of existing homes increased 100,000 in March, the largest for any March since 2006. More supply should help sales growth in the months ahead. The median sales price of an existing home rose to $212,100 in March, up 7.8% from a year ago. In other housing news this morning, the FHFA price index, which measures homes financed with conforming mortgages, increased 0.7% in February and is up 5.4% from a year ago. That's a mild deceleration from the 7.1% price gain in the year ended in February 2014. Expect more of the same in the year ahead, with price gains continuing at a slower pace as more home building increases supply.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 11:34 AM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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