In a clear hangover from the buying induced jump in the summer and fall due to the home buying tax credit, Dec Existing Home Sales totaled 5.45mm annualized, 450k below forecasts as both single family and condos/co-ops saw declines from Nov. The falloff was from 6.54mm units in Nov and 6.09mm in Oct. This figure measures actual closings where the contracts were likely signed in Sept-Oct when the fate of the Nov 30th expiration of the tax credit was uncertain. Months supply rose to 7.2 from 6.5 as inventories rose in both categories. Median prices did rise 1.5% y/o/y and rose 4.9% m/o/m to $178,300, the most since July. Both thru the artificial suppression of mortgage rates and the home buying tax credit, the industry has lifted off the mat but we’re left with the distortions where the true equilibrium between supply and demand won’t be realized until the summer when both have run its course.
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