Existing Home Sales Fall in 38 States; Leading Indicators Rose 0.2% in Oct.

Sales of existing homes fell in 38 states during the third quarter, according to The National Association of Realtors. Sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.27 million units nationwide, down by 12.7% from the year ago 3Q 2005. The declines were the largest in once-booming areas of the country - sales fell by 38% in Nevada, 36% in Arizona; 34.2% in Florida and 28.6% in California. 

In all, nine states had sales declines in the summer of 20% or more compared to the third quarter of 2005, while 10 states showed increases in sales activity from a year ago.

The national median existing single-family home price was $224,900 in the third quarter, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier when the median price was $227,600. 

U.S. Leading Indicators:

The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index increased 0.2%, the coincident index increased 0.1% and the lagging index increased 0.2% in October.

  • Housing permits continued to make the largest negative contribution to the leading index in this period, followed by vendor performance. 
  • The current behavior of the leading index suggests that slow economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

Six of the ten indicators that make up the leading index increased in October. The positive contributors - beginning with the largest positive contributor: 

  1. real money supply,
  2. index of consumer expectations, 
  3. stock prices, 
  4. average weekly manufacturing hours, 
  5. manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials, 
  6. average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted). 

The negative contributors - beginning with the largest negative contributor - were:

  1. vendor performance, 
  2. building permits, 
  3. manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods, 
  4. the interest rate spread.

The leading index now stands at 138.3 (1996=100). During the six-month span through October, the leading index decreased 0.2%, with five out of ten components advancing.

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