Existing-Home Sales Down 2.5% MoM, Up 26% From 2019

This morning's release of the November Existing-Home Sales showed that sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million units from the previous month's revised 6.86 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 6.70 million. The latest number represents a 2.5% decrease from the previous month.

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

WASHINGTON (December 22, 2020) – Existing-home sales fell in November, snapping a five-month streak of month-over-month gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions either took a step back or held steady in terms of their respective month-over-month status, but each of the four areas experienced significant year-over-year growth.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 2.5% from October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November. However, sales in total rose year-over-year, up 25.8% from a year ago (5.32 million in November 2019).

"Home sales in November took a marginal step back, but sales for all of 2020 are already on pace to surpass last year's levels," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it's amazing that the housing sector is outperforming expectations." [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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