Existing Home Sales Rebound(ish)

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According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales hit a two-year high in September. Not to rain on anyone's parade, this is a seasonally adjusted, annualized number.

The unadjusted sales numbers were down 5.2 percent from August to September. Also, the median home price dropped to $174,900 a decline of 8.5 percent since last September.

As this chart (below) shows, the total number of sales peaked in July, and has dropped 10 percent per month since then.
2009Unadjusted Existing
Home Sales
Percent Change
Jan257,000NA
Feb280,0008.9%
March357,00027.5%
April413,00015.7%
May447,0008.2%
June521,00016.6%
July532,0002.1%
Aug498,000-6.4%
Sept472,000-5.2%

The good news is that the report shows the supply of homes on the market dropping dramatically from 9.3 months to 7.8 months, after peaking at 10.1 months in April and then slowly declining throughout the summer.

The NAR generally says a six-month supply would be the equilibrium point where we'd expect to see prices basically flat, so we could hit that by the end of the year.

Even the NAR's economist Lawrence Yun indicate that the 'turnaround' may be on shaky ground:
"We're getting early indications of price stabilization, but we need a steady supply of qualified buyers to meaningfully bring inventories down and return us to a period of normal, steady price growth .... Without a firm foundation for middle-class wealth recovery, the post-recession economic growth likely will be one of the weakest in U.S. history."

Until the issue of the first-time buyer credit is resolved, there's going to be a lot of gnashing of teeth about a double-dip in home sales, and we still have not seen home prices recover at all.
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