Existing Homes Sales Fall 3.6%

News on the Housing front continues to marginally improve. This is not yet a positive number, but it is getting less worse.

Existing-home sales fell 3.6% from May 2008. Sales in May 2009 rose 2.4% from April to 4.77 million. Note that these are apple and orange comparisons — revised to unrevised numbers. Once again, the prior monthly number was revised downwards (4.68 million down to 4.66 million).

Some more data points:

• Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 3.5% to 3.80 million existing homes available for sale;

• Inventory is a 9.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.1-month supply in April.

• First-time buyers accounted for 29% of transactions, down from 45% last month, but up from 20% a year ago;

• Prices fell 16.8% for the national median existing-home from a year earlier;

• Distressed properties declined to 33% of all sales in May from 45% in April;

• Single-family home sales rose 1.9% (seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.25 )million in May, but are 3.0% below (4.38 million-unit level) May 2008;

• Median existing single-family home price was $172,900 in May, down 16.1% from a year ago.

One of the more bizarre aspects of the news release was Lawrence Yun’s call for appraisers “familiar” with local neighborhoods:

“Lenders are using appraisers who may not be familiar with a neighborhood, or who compare traditional homes with distressed and discounted sales. In the past month, stories of appraisal problems have been snowballing from across the country with many contracts falling through at the last moment. There is danger of a delayed housing market recovery and a further rise in foreclosures if the appraisal problems are not quickly corrected.”

That is outrageous.

Consider:  The NAR remained notably silent during the appraisal corruption during the boom; Home sales based on loans to people who couldn’t afford them that drove prices higher were fair basis for appraisal comparables — but when these same homes are sold — inevitably through forclosure auctions,  REOs or distressed sales — they should be ignored? Only up, not down?

Even worse, they seem to be calling for a return to “local” (i.e., friendlier) appraisals — like the good ole’ days. You remember the “friendlier” era of corrupt appraisals that were rife during the credit bubble?

Am I reading this correctly? It looks like code for USE APPRAISERS (i.e., CORRUPTIBLE) WHOM YOU KNOW.

I thought I was inured to the idiocy of the NAR and the fetid stank of corruption that their press releases come with, but even I am astonished by the filth emanating from their offices today.  Shame on you  . . .


Existing Home Sales, May 2009 (NSA)


Chart courtesy of Barron’s Econoday


Fraud in Real Estate, Mortgages & Homebuilders (August 17th, 2008)

Nonfeasance in Financial Oversight (August 18th, 2008)

May Existing-Home Sales Continue Rising Trend
NAR, June 23, 2009

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