Real estate was a key newsmaker this month with sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops rising a solid 4.2 percent in May to hit an annual rate of 5.18 million, the National Association of Realtors reported last week. May’s total marked the highest level since November 2009 and was 12.9 percent higher than May 2012’s 4.59 million-unit pace.
Total inventory of homes for sale in May rose 3.3 percent to 2.22 million units for sale, which represented a 5.1-month supply at May’s sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April. Listed inventory is 10.1 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6.5-month supply. These shortening supplies will impact home prices, NAR noted.
In fact, the national median price for existing homes of all types hit $208,000 in May, marking a 15.4 percent gain over May 2012, and the sixth straight month of double-digit price gains. This was the strongest price gain since October 2005, and the last time there were 15 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from March 2005 to May 2006. Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — accounted for 18 percent of May sales, which was unchanged from April.
Looking at new real estate, permits issued for private housing in May dipped to an annual rate of 974,000, which was 3.1 percent below April’s revised rate of 1,005,000, the Census Bureau reported last week. That said, May’s total was 20.8 percent over May 2012’s estimate of 806,000. Permits for single-family homes in May notched up to a rate of 622,000, which was 1.3 percent over April’s revised figure of 614,000.
Starts on construction of private homes in May grew by 6.8 percent over April to hit an annual rate of 914,000. This was a whopping 28.6 percent over May 2012’s rate of 711,000. Starts on single-family homes hit 599,000 in May marking a 0.3 percent increase over April’s revised figure of 597,000.
Employment saw some glum news with first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ending June 15 hitting 354,000, a gain of 18,000 from the prior week’s revised figure of 336,000, according to last week’s report from the Employment and Training Administration. The four-week moving average was 348,250, a bump of 2,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 345,750.
That said the total number of unemployed Americans covered by insurance during the week ending June 8 was 2,951,000, a drop of 40,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 2,991,000, the Administration also reported. The four-week moving average was 2,978,750, a gain of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 2,971,750.
This week, we can expect:
Tuesday — Durable goods orders and new home sales for May from the Census Bureau; June consumer confidence figures from The Conference Board.
Wednesday — First quarter gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Thursday — Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; personal income and spending for May from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Friday — June consumer sentiment survey from the University of Michigan.