Strong Home Sales? Price Mismatch?

Economists are bubbly over home sales, especially existing home sales that came in at the top end of the Bloomberg Consensus range of 5.3 to 5.6 million homes at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate.

There’s plenty of life in the housing sector with existing home sales up a stronger-than-expected 2.0 percent in July to a 5.59 million annual rate. And demand is well ahead of supply which is very thin, at 4.8 months at the current sales rate vs 4.9 and 5.1 in the two prior months and 5.6 months in July last year. Sales are up 10.3 percent year-on-year, well ahead of the median price which, at $234,000, is up 5.6 percent. This mismatch, especially with thin supply, hints at pricing power ahead.

Single-family homes lead the report, up 2.7 percent in the month at a 4.960 million annual rate. Condos, where demand on the new home side is soaring, actually fell 3.1 percent in the month to a 630,000 rate. Year-on-year, sales of single-family homes are up 11.0 percent with condos at plus 5.0 percent.

By region, July’s strength is centered in the South with a gain of 4.1 percent. The West follows at plus 3.2 percent with the Midwest

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