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Lawler: Early Read on Existing Home Sales in December

Summary:
From housing economist Tom Lawler:Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports released across the country through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.62 million in December, down 1.0% from November’s preliminary pace and up 19.7% from last December’s seasonally adjusted pace.Local realtor reports, as well as reports from national inventory trackers, suggest that the YOY decline in the inventory of existing homes for sale was slightly greater in December than November, though what that means for the NAR inventory estimate is unclear. As I’ve noted before, the inventory measure in most publicly-released local realtor/MLS reports excludes listings with pending contracts, but

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From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Based on publicly-available local realtor/MLS reports released across the country through today, I project that existing home sales as estimated by the National Association of Realtors ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.62 million in December, down 1.0% from November’s preliminary pace and up 19.7% from last December’s seasonally adjusted pace.

Local realtor reports, as well as reports from national inventory trackers, suggest that the YOY decline in the inventory of existing homes for sale was slightly greater in December than November, though what that means for the NAR inventory estimate is unclear. As I’ve noted before, the inventory measure in most publicly-released local realtor/MLS reports excludes listings with pending contracts, but that is not the case for many of the reports sent to the NAR (referred to as the “NAR Report!”), Since the middle of last Spring inventory measures excluding pending listings have fallen much more sharply than inventory measures including such listings, and this latter inventory measure understates the decline in the effective inventory of homes for sale over the last several months.

Finally, local realtor/MLS reports suggest the median existing single-family home sales price last month was up by about 13% from last December.

CR Note: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is scheduled to release December existing home sales on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM ET. The consensus is for 6.55 million SAAR.

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