US Home Sales, Prices

A flurry of data out this week on US pending and existing home sales, home prices, year-end 2015 home sales provide an update on the housing and real estate situation in America.

US Home Sales and House Prices: December and Year-End 2015

Existing home sales in the United States increased again in December after seeing some months of dwindling transactions and were up 14.7 per cent compared to November.

But the data from the National Association of Realtors includes a carryover of delayed transactions from November into December as a result of the Know Before You Owe initiative.


However the existing homes sales index shows a rise in sales in all four major regions, led by the South and West and transactions are now up 7.7 per cent year on year. It means that 2015 was the best year of existing home sales at 5.26 million since 2006 when it was 6.48 million.

US New Home Sales

The market for newly built US homes entered 2016 on a solid footing, after December’s sales capped their best year since 2007. Purchases of new single-family homes increased by 10.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 in December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

US home builders continue to report high levels of confidence. The National Association of Home Builders’ sentiment index stayed at 60 in January, unchanged on the month at a high level, the group said last week.

Purchases increased in all four US regions, led by a 31.6 per cent jump in the Midwest. Sales climbed 21 per cent in the West.

The supply of homes at the current sales rate dropped to 5.2 months from 5.6 months in the prior month. There were 237,000 new houses on the market at the end of December compared with 231,000 a month earlier.

The median sales price decreased 4.3 per cent from December 2014 to US$288,900, the report showed.

The number of homes sold and awaiting the start of construction climbed to 178,000 in December, the highest since July 2007 and a sign that builders will be busy leading up to the spring sales season.

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US Home Prices: November 2015

Annualized US single-family home prices rose more than expected in November and at the fastest pace in 16 months, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.8 per cent in November on a year-over-year basis compared with 5.5 per cent the month before. That was just above the 5.7 per cent estimate from a Reuters poll of economists and marked the largest such increase since July 2014.

Prices rose 0.9 per cent in November from October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the survey showed, topping expectations for a rise of 0.8 per cent. That was the fastest monthly gain since March.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices rose 0.1 per cent from October.