Lots of stuff here: 

  • Existing Home sales in August nationally came in at 5.10 million annual rate.    This includes single-family, townhomes, condos and co-ops – declined 2.7 percent in August from a pace of 5.24 million in July, but remain 3.4 percent above the 4.93 million-unit level in August 2008.  In the previous four months, sales had risen a total of 15.2 percent.  Despite this months dip, there is improvement expected through the fall.
  • Fallout from the collapse of the housing bubble is still being felt, however, as the National Association of Realtors noted that distressed properties accounted for nearly one-third of all sales.
  • Single-Family sales slowed in August and were responsible for most of the decline, while multi-family sales stayed relatively constant.    Single family home sales fell 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million August from a level of 4.61 million in July, but are 2.5 percent higher than the 4.37 million-unit pace in August 2008.  The median existing single-family home price was $177,500 in August, down 12.1 percent from a year ago.   A single month volatility does not change the underlying trend; the housing market is gaining strength.
  • Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 10.8 percent to 3.62 million existing  homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5 months supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.3 month supply in July.  Unsold inventory totals are 16.4 percent lower than a year ago.  Stronger sales helped bring the national supply down to 8.5 months, the lowest reading since before the recession began.  Falling inventories will eventually help justify new building.
  • According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30 year conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.19 percent in  August from 5.22 percent in July; the rate was 6.48 in August 2008.
  • Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 6.6 percent in August to a level of 1.14 million but are unchanged from a year ago.  The median price in the Midwest was $149,000, down 10.4 percent from August 2008.
  • Weekly first-time unemployment claims fell more than expected, dropping 21,000 to 530,000.



Source:  National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC