Existing-Home Sales Up 0.6% In January

This morning's release of the January Existing-Home Sales showed that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million units from the previous month's revised 6.65 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 6.61 million. The latest number represents a 0.6% increase from the previous month.

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

WASHINGTON (February 19, 2021) – Existing-home sales rose in January, marking two consecutive months of growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. From a month-over-month perspective, buying activity varied in the major regions. Year-over-year, all four areas recorded double-digit gains in January.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.6% from December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in January. Sales in total climbed year-over-year, up 23.7% from a year ago (5.41 million in January 2020).

"Home sales continue to ascend in the first month of the year, as buyers quickly snatched up virtually every new listing coming on the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Sales easily could have been even 20% higher if there had been more inventory and more choices." [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 a 19.2% 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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