Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million. This annual rate is 2.5% higher than the 5.13 million-unit level in October 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market this year has been a tale of two halves. “Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth,” he said. “Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”
“The growth in housing supply this year will likely prevent the drastic sales slowdown and coinciding spike in home prices we saw last winter due to low inventory,” says Yun. “However, more housing starts are needed to increase supply, meet current demand and keep price growth in check.”
The existing home sales rate in 3 of the 4 U.S. regions in September:
- Northeast: 0.71 million from 0.69 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.24 million from 1.18 million month prior.
- South: 2.17 million from 2.11 million month prior.
- West: 1.14 million from 1.20 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.6% to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 5.1 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 5.2% above a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 63 days in October. That is up from 56 days in September. Short sales were on the market for a median of 150 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 68 days, and non-distressed homes took 61 days. 33% of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $208,300, up 5.5% from a year ago.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.009 million. This is 2.8% below the revised September estimate of 1.038 million, and is 7.8% above the October 2013 rate of 0.936 million.
Single-family starts increased to an annual rate of 0.696 million from 0.668 million and multi-unit starts decreased to 0.313 million from 0.370 million.
S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices increased in August, with the 10-City composite and 20-city composite indices both increasing by 0.2% (not seasonally adjusted).
Year over year, the 20-City Composite is up 5.6%. This is a slower annual rate of growth than the 6.7% in July and the 13.6% rate in October 2013.
The national house price level is now roughly equal to where it stood in November 2004.
Of the 20 cities tracked in the index, Los Angeles has had the greatest increase in home prices since 2000, while Detroit has been the only city where prices have declined over the past 14 years.
From a year ago, house prices have increased the most in Las Vegas, where they rose 10.1%. Cleveland has had the slowest rate of annual increase, rising only 0.8%.
Dallas and Denver are the only cities whose prices have increased beyond their pre-recession peak. Las Vegas remains the furthest below its peak.
The U.S.Federal Housing Finance Agency saw its national house prices increasing 0.5% in August (not seasonally adjusted), and increasing 4.7% from a year ago.
The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The U.S. index is 5.8% below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as its August 2005 index level.
Of the 9 different geographic census divisions that FHFA tracks, house prices have increased the most year over year in the Pacific and increased the least in the Middle Atlantic.
In both the Case-Shiller index and the FHFA index house prices continue to increase, but the pace is slowing.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) was a reading of +0.47 in September, up from August’s revised reading of -0.25. The positive figure indicates that the index is above its historical trend. The index’s 3-month moving average is at +0.25.
58 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in September, while 27 made negative contributions. 56 indicators improved from August to September, while 29 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.
The Production and Income index component registered +0.30 from -0.20 last month. Employment and Hours was +0.22 from +0.04, Personal Consumption and Housing was -0.13 from -0.09, and Sales, Orders, and Inventories was +0.08 from -0.01.
The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories. Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity.
It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million. This annual rate is 1.7% lower than the 5.26 million-unit level in September 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the improved demand for buying seen since the spring has carried into the fall. “Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” he said. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
“Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets, which will likely keep interest rates in upcoming weeks hovering near or below where they are now,” said Yun. “This is welcoming news for consumers looking to buy, although they could temporarily become more cautious by less certain economic conditions.”
The existing home sales rate in 3 of the 4 U.S. regions in September:
- Northeast: 0.68 million from 0.67 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.17 million from 1.24 million month prior.
- South: 2.12 million from 2.02 million month prior.
- West: 1.20 million from 1.12 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased 1.3% to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 5.3 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 6.0% above a year ago, when there were 2.17 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 56 days in September. That is up from 53 days in August. Short sales were on the market for a median of 116 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 53 days, and non-distressed homes took 59 days. 35% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $209,700, up 5.6% from a year ago.
Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million. This is 6.3% above the revised August estimate of 957k, and is 17.8% above the September 2013 rate of 863k.
Single-family starts increased to an annual rate of 646k from 639k and multi-unit starts increased to 3371k from 318k.
Charles Schwab Corp. is weeks away from introducing an automated investing service aimed at winning business from novice investors it does not currently serve, company officials told Reuters.
The service is being developed in-house and likely will be free, giving the San Francisco-based discount brokerage pioneer a leg up on a slew of upstart firms known as robo-brokers that charge management fees of 0.15 to 0.35 percent of a client’s assets.
It would position Schwab as the first conventional brokerage with its own robo-broker offering. In automated investing plans, clients fill out questionnaires about investment goals and risk tolerances. Their answers automatically determine the portfolios of exchange-traded funds or other assets they buy.
Schwab ready to unveil free ‘robo-broker’ service