Reclaiming Common Sense

The Existing Home Sales Market


This column produced an article earlier this week titled "September Real Estate Forecast: More Good News." That article projected September to September, non-seasonally adjusted, growth in new home starts, new homes under construction, and new home completions. This week we received the new construction data that recorded increases in new home starts, units under construction, and completions from last year's September new construction levels. This was covered in the article "September Surge in New Construction."


The September Real Estate forecast article also projected that we should see total units sold fall between 460,000 to 480,000 units, based on the current year data, the month to month data, the trailing year data, and the same month data. It also projected that we would set a new September Average Sales Price record between $298,000 and $301,000. Remember that anything above $289,600 would be a record for the month of September. The big question for the units sold was what would we see as the inventory number. Inventory was expected to drop below the 1.92 million units we had during August, as it normally falls during September. It was also anticipated that it should be higher than last September's 1.86 million units. What was recorded and was was report in the National Association of Realtors article "Existing-Home Sales Decline Across the Country in September?"


The September Existing Home Inventory edged slightly higher from last September's level.  The inventory level did drop slightly from August to September. This is normal. The Realtors reported a drop in September Condominium units from 219,000 this August to 215,000 this month. Last September the inventory level was 217,000. The single family home inventory dropped from August's 1.69 million to 1.66 million. This is an improvement from last September's 1.64 million,


The Existing Home Average Sales Price set a September Record at $296,800. This coincides well with the 3.0% overall for shelter as the existing home average sales price is up 2.5% from last September. The Single Family ASP was $298,100, up from September 2017 when it was $290,500. Condominium /Co-Op prices increased from $282,700 to $286,600, or 1.4%, from last September. Both saw declines from the August levels.


September Total Units Sold was disappointing at 420,000 Units. This is the fewest combined units sold since 2012. There were 427,000 units sold during September 2013. Inventory is certainly impacting units sold. Both single family h single family and Condo/Co-op sales fell September to September. Single family units fell from 410,000 units to 373,000. Condos fell from 52,000 units to 47,000 Units.


Rolling units sold are down from September 2017 and up from September 2016. The 5.422 million units is better than we had during 2001 and slower than we had during 2002.  This could be because inventory was lower than any other September other than September 2017.


The Current Year Sales are slightly lower than 2017 and 2016 and slightly better than 2015. This year we have 4.112 million units sold. We had 4.02M during September 2015 and 4.152M during September 2016. We are 60,000 units behind 2106 so we could see 5.35 million units sold this year.  We could also see a number more like 5.26 million units sold.


Overall, the report had some good news, year over year increases in the average sales price and the inventory, and a disappointment in the number of units sold. Remember that all real estate is local. Real estate sales are based on price, location, condition, and the motivation of the buyer and the seller. Location means city, village/town, school district, neighborhood/condominium co-op, square footage, age, amenities. Consult a Realtor to determine the status in your market place and your price range. Everything matters.


It's the economy.


The Single Family Only data can be found here.

The Condominium and Co-op data can be found here.

The Combined Condominium and Single Family data can be found here.