Existing home sales add to the parade of bullish data

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Data on existing home sales were significantly above expectations with a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million sales registered according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).  The NAR released a statement on the figures, an excerpt of which is below.

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For the first time in five years, existing-home sales have increased for four months in a row, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.24 million units in July from a level of 4.89 million in June, and are 5.0 percent above the 4.99 million-unit pace in July 2008.  The last time sales rose for four consecutive months was in June 2004, and the last time sales were higher than a year earlier was November 2005.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said he is encouraged.  “The housing market has decisively turned for the better.  A combination of first-time buyers taking advantage of the housing stimulus tax credit and greatly improved affordability conditions are contributing to higher sales,” he said. 

The monthly sales gain was the largest on record for the total existing-home sales series dating back to 1999.

The increase in existing home sales may be underpinned by a heavy inventory of forced and foreclosure sales, but a sale is a sale.  I see this as a bullish data point which will further the view that the economy has rebounded or will soon do so.

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