Economic Snapshot: Existing home sales dip slightly

Photo credit to Dan Moyle

Although existing home sales decreased, February’s sales pace is still 5.4 percent above the previous year. 2017 started at the fastest pace of existing home sales in almost a decade.

Existing home sales

Total existing home sales dropped 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in February, down from 5.69 million in January.

The median existing home price for all housing types was $228,400 in February, up 7.7 percent from last year. February’s price increase was the fastest since last January and marks the 60th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory increased 4.2 percent to 1.75 million existing homes available for sale at the end of February, but is still 6.4 percent lower than last year and has fallen year over year for 21 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a supply of 3.8 month at the current sales pace, up from 3.5 months in January.

First-time buyers made up 32 percent of sales in February, down from 33 percent in January but up from 30 a year ago.


The number of job openings was little changed at 5.6 million on the last business day of January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job openings rate was 3.7 percent. Job openings increased in professional and business services (+136,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (+67,000) but decreased in federal government (-37,000).

The number of hires was essentially unchanged at 5.4 million in January and the hires rate was 3.7 percent. Hires increased in other services (+54,000) and finance and insurance (+41,000).

There were 5.3 million total separations in January, little changed from December, and the separations rate was 3.6 percent. Total separations increased in finance and insurance (+39,000).

Among separations, the number of quits rose slightly to 3.2 million in January and the quits rate was 2.2 percent. Over the month, the number of quits increased for total private (+129,000) and was little changed for government. Quits increased in other services (+33,000), finance and insurance (+31,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (+24,000). The number of quits increased in the Midwest and West regions, both up by 92,000.

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