Strategic Briefing | 6.24.14| US Existing Home Sales

Existing-Home Sales Heat Up in May, Inventory Levels Continue to Improve
National Assoc. of Realtors | June 23
Existing-home sales rose strongly in May and inventory gains continued to help moderate price growth, according to the National Association of Realtors. All four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier…. “Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.”

U.S. housing regaining footing as supply improves
Reuters | June 23
U.S. home resales rose more than expected in May and the stock of properties for sale was the highest in more than 1-1/2 years, suggesting that housing was pulling out of a recent slump.
The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales increased 4.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.89 million units. May’s increase was the largest since August 2011.
“The housing market has quite some ways to go to recover its recent sluggishness, but positive momentum in the sector suggests that housing has begun to show signs of life,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York.

Sales Pickup Shows Healing U.S. Real Estate Market
Bloomberg | June 23
“The housing recovery is going to continue,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC in New York, who projected sales would rise to a 4.8 million pace. “Income levels are going up, rates are at least not going up anymore, and prices are stabilizing, so all that blends into a good picture for affordability.”

Guess Who Is Propping Up The US Housing Market
Zero Hedge | June 23
Moments ago the NAR released its May data, which on first blush was widely lauded as bullish: the topline print came at a 4.9% increase, rising from 4.65MM to 4.89MM, above the 4.74MM expected. Great news… if only on the surface. So what happens when one drills down into the detail? As usual, we focused on the last slide of the NAR breakdown, located at the very end of the supplementary pdf for good reason, because what it shows is hardly as bullish…. in April there was a modest increase sales in house buckets from $250 all the way up to $1MM +, in May the only bucket that had an increase in sales from a year ago was that exclusively reserve for the ultra-richest, i.e., those who benefit the most from the Fed’s non-trickle downing wealth effect policies.

Existing Home Sales Rise Strongly in May
The Wall Street Journal | June 23
“It would be risky to assume this gain marks the start of a sustainable rebound,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. The recent sales gains are largely “a reversal of the winter hit,” and other reports do “not support the idea that demand is recovering,” he said.