It's the Economy

January Existing Home Sales Forecast: Surprise!

We will receive the January Existing Home Data before the December New Home Sales data. January New Home Sales data release date yet to be determined.

This column normally prices a monthly real estate forecast article for the New Construction Data, New Home Sales data, and the Existing Home Sales Data. We are not receiving the December New Home data this week. We are only receiving the January Existing Home data. Here is what to expect.

The first thing to discuss is the Inventory situation.  Housing hit an “all-time” low inventory level during December 2017. The data available goes back to 1999. It is impossible to sell imaginary inventory. We still managed to have “respectable” sales during January 2018 with historic low inventory. We normally have 1.8 million units for sale during any month of the year. We had a mere 1.46 million units for sale during December of 2017 to carryover to January 2018.

Month to month inventory started growing during August of 2018.  Same month Inventory had been on the decline since   June of 2015. There were fewer homes to purchase during June 2016 than June 2015. There were fewer homes to purchase during June 2017 than June 2016 and June 2015. There were fewer homes to purchase during June 2018 than June 2017, June 2016, or June 2015.  Inventory could grow as much as 4% month to month and year to year. We already have more units for sales during December 2018 than January 2018. Expect 1.58 million to 1.63 million units in inventory.

We saw peak average  sales price during 2006. The average sales price headed lower through 2012. Every year since the January average sales price has risen from the prior January. It is most likely that we will set another January record, between $284,900 and $294,900. Units sold should tick higher than we saw during 2017 and 2018, to between 319,000 units and 324,000 units sold, condominiums and single family homes combined.

The next thing is the average sales price.  We have had fairly steady Shelter Inflation of 3% for well over a year.The minimum level for January existing home sales price should be over $291,000. Sales psychology indicates that this price should fall between $289,9000 and $294,900 with the outside chance of $296,000.   Expect $292,500.

Finally, the number of units sold.  We normally sell over 300,000 units during January, single family homes and condominiums combined. We sold fewer than 300,000 units during the month of January from January 2008 through January 2015. We sold 302,000 units during January of 2016. We sold 319,000 units during January 2017 and dropped slightly to 313,000 during January 2018. This should be the minimum units that we record, non-seasonally adjusted, as the units sold.  This is different from the “annualized” headline data that you will hear of 5.0 to 5.5 million units sold. As long as we sell more than 313,000 units than the annualized level should rise. Expect a value between 313,000 and 324,000 units.

Existing home sales generate other sales, such as furniture sales, appliance sales, and home and garden sales. More sales, more jobs, more sales. The same is true for new construction sales.  Inventory levels are improving and are not “out of control” by a long-shot. Sales prices are rising. Contact a REALTOR®  for the specifics of you neighborhood, condominium, school district, and community at large.

It’s the economy.

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