August Existing-Home Sales Highest Since 2006

This morning's release of the August Existing-Home Sales showed that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.00 million units from the previous month's revised 5.86 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 6.00 million. The latest number represents a 2.4% increase from the previous month.

Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2020) – Existing-home sales continued to climb in August, marking three consecutive months of positive sales gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major regions experienced both month-over-month and year-over-year growth, with the Northeast seeing the greatest improvement from the prior month.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4% from July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.00 million in August. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 10.5% from a year ago (5.43 million in August 2019).

"Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. "Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery." [Full Report]

For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which comes from the National Association of Realtors. The data since January 1999 was previously available in the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository and is now only available for the last twelve months.

Existing Home Sales

Over this time frame, we clearly see the Real Estate Bubble, which peaked in 2005 and then fell dramatically. Sales were volatile for the first year or so following the Great Recession.

The Population-Adjusted Reality

Now let's examine the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates show an 18.9% increase in the US population since the turn of the century. The snapshot below is an overlay of the NAR's annualized estimates with a population-adjusted version.

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