Existing Home Sales Up Strongly From a Year Ago, Slightly Down from a Month Ago

February 2012 existing home sales were up 8.8 percent from a year ago, although down 0.9 percent from the upwardly revised January level. The February 2012 seasonally adjusted level of 4.59 million sales was up from the 4.22 million level of sales a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the February seasonally adjusted sales of existing single-family homes (comprised of completed transactions of single-family, townhouses, condominiums and coops) was down slightly from the revised January seasonally adjusted level of 4.63 million sales.  

Single-family existing home sales were 9.4 percent above the level of a year ago, and down 1.0 percent from the upwardly revised January level. The February level of single-family existing sales was 4.06 million compared to the 3.71 million seasonally adjusted single-family existing sales of a year ago, and down from the 4.1 million seasonally adjusted level from January. Condominium and co-op sales were unchanged from the revised January level, and were up 3.9 percent from a year ago to a seasonally adjusted 530,000.   

The total housing inventory at the end of February increased 4.3 percent to 2.43 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales level, this inventory represents a 6.4 month supply, up from a 6.0 month supply in January, and down 19.3 percent from a year ago.  NAR reported 34 percent of sales were distressed sales, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 35 percent in January and 39 percent a year ago.

The January contract cancellation rate was 33 percent compared to 9 percent in February 2011. Some 18 percent of NAR members reported delays and 31 percent experienced contract failures caused by declined mortgage applications and appraisals coming in below the negotiated sales price.

The January Pending Home Sales Index was up 2.0 percent from the previous month and up 8.0 percent from the previous year. So it was expected that February existing home sales would be up from January. The modest decline in February is still consistent with the pattern of increased existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index.

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0 replies

  1. But, the question I want answered, is “what’s the average sales price now, compared to last year?”

    I’d be willing to bet money that the average price is down more than the 8.8% that the sales volume is up. And, check out that failure rate. 33% failure of home contracts, because people can’t get financed, and 34% of the houses sold, or trying to be sold were from people who could carry their cost in the current economic climate.

    The title of your article gives hope, but the article itself shows something completely different… Something scary!


    • Kent
      In response to your question, NAR reported that existing home prices have been essentially flat over the past year. For all housing types, NAR reported that existing home prices increased 0.3% from last February to a level of $156,600. However, housing demand is weak because homebuyers are facing challenges obtaining financing. Additionally new home sales face competition from distressed home sales. Thanks. Steve

  2. Does anyone know what the cancellation rate on “pending”s were in ’07?

  3. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say
    that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


  4. You have a broken link in your article: http://eyeonhousing.org/2012/03/21/existing-home-sales-up-strongly-from-a-year-ago-slightly-down-from-a-month-ago/

    The broken link: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) pointing to: http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2012/03/ehs_feb

    There is another exact copy saved of it here:

    It appears that Realtor.org does not provide this anymore. I hope this helps you out!


  1. Existing Home Sales Up Strongly From a Year Ago, Slightly Down from a Month Ago | Wood on Fire – Topics of Lumber Industry

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