Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All You Need to Know About Existing Home Sales

From the WSJ:

The languid sales pace has pushed inventories of unsold homes to a 9.9 months' supply at current sales rates. That large overhang has put downward pressure on prices for months, especially in areas hit hardest by the housing crisis.

The absolute number is high as well:

The number of homes for sale at the end of March increased by 40,000 to 4.06 million. At the current sales pace, that represented 9.9 months' worth, up from 9.6 months' worth at the end of the prior month.

Let's combine that with the Case Shiller home price index:

The bottom line is we're nowhere near the end of this; prices have a lot more to fall. And anyone who is calling a housing bottom is playing the spin game, nothing more. There are still way too many homes on the market for this to be anywhere near over.

But at least not all analysts are political hacks:

``There still is an imbalance in the existing housing market that needs to be corrected through lower inventories and higher sales,'' said Michelle Meyer, an economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York, which correctly forecast the sales level. ``The market will remain out of balance this year and most of next. As long as the housing market remains weak we think the economy will remain weak as well.''