February Home Sales? Not so good (except maybe for prices)

From the WSJ:

U.S. Housing Recovery Hits Hurdles

A broad measure of home sales fell again in February, the latest sign of severe weather and worsening affordability undermining the housing recovery.

Sales of previously owned homes fell 0.4% in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That matched a forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and was the sixth decline in sales in the past seven months.

“Existing-home sales remain in a rut,” said BNP Paribas economist Laura Rosner.

Sales have been on the decline since hitting an annual rate of 5.38 million in July, a four-year high. Rising mortgage rates and soaring home prices have sidelined many prospective buyers, while cold and stormy weather has dissuaded others from going house-hunting in recent months.

Existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of all home purchases in the U.S., fell in the Northeast and Midwest but rose in the South and West.

The National Association of Realtors said the median home price in February was $189,000, up 9.1% from a year earlier, in part because supply constraints are driving up prices.

The trade group said two million homes were available for sale last month, which represents a supply of about 5.2 months. It estimates a supply of 6 to 6½ months represents a rough balance between buyers and sellers.

“Affordability is continuing to weaken,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist, though he added sales activity should pick up after winter ends. “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead,” Mr. Yun said.

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to February Home Sales? Not so good (except maybe for prices)

  1. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Existing-home sales slowest since July 2012

    Hurt by rising mortgage rates and prices, the sales pace of existing homes continued to slide last month, hitting the slowest rate since July 2012, according to data released Thursday.

    Sales of existing homes ticked down 0.4% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Sales rates have trended down since the summer as rising mortgage rates and home prices cut affordability. Constrained inventory and unusually poor weather may have also played a role in weak buying, the trade group said.

    “It’s possible that adverse winter weather, which continued in the Northeast and Midwest in February, depressed buying traffic in those regions. The broader trend is still one of weak underlying demand, as existing home sales have been declining across the country ever since last summer’s interest rate shock,” said Laura Rosner, an economist at BNP Paribas.

    Economists had expected the pace of existing-home sales to decline to 4.58 million in February from a rate of 4.62 million in January.

    Cutting affordability even further, buyers also face rapidly rising prices. The median sales price of used homes hit $189,000 in February, up 9.1% from the year-earlier period, as inventory remained tight, the trade group said. February’s inventory was 2 million existing homes for sale, a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace. That 5.2-month supply is up from 4.9 months for January — a plus for the market.

    “The increased supply of homes for sale could be a positive down the road for activity,” according to a research note from Andrew Grantham at CIBC World Markets.

    First-time buyers have had a particularly tough time in this housing market, making up just 28% of existing-home sales last month, compared with a long-term average of 40%.

  2. grim says:

    How sure are you that the average american is struggling? From CR:

    Fed: Q4 Household Debt Service Ratio near 30 year low

  3. grim says:

    What a hoot, Realogy named one of the most ethical companies.

  4. 1987 Condo says:

    #3..CEO was on CNBC yesterday talking at length about ethics and hiring ethical folks…

  5. grim says:

    Generally, I find that those who are obsessed with talking about ethics, aren’t.

  6. I know some of the people at Realogy. Total scumbags. Part of their “training” of Clodwell Bunco agents is to teach them absolutely nothing, so that these people follow their own instincts…most of which are not benevolent. They also deliberately keep them ignorant of the law and provide virtually no training in ethics.

  7. 30 year realtor says:

    I believe the Wayne Coldwell Banker sex scandal receiving international attention is behind the Realogy ethics movement.

  8. grim says:

    Not familiar with the ethics consultancy that came up with this list, but if it is like any other trade analyst consultancy, paying enough in consulting fees and a few fancy dinners is more than enough to get you ranked… So really, you just buy your way in, go figure.

    Suspect they charge a pretty penny for the right to use their report in your marketing materials, 5-6 figures easy.

  9. anon (the good one) says:

    corporate rapaciousness leaves no space for ethics

  10. anon (the good one) says:

    @asymco: Footnote: Trench coats were designed for WWI and the characteristic flap on right breast was designed to cushion the firing of a rifle.

  11. grim says:

    Clearly NJ needs to ban trench coats.

  12. Steve says:

    2 – I would like to see a number that includes property taxes. 10 years ago my mortgage interest was 2-3 times my property taxes. With refinancing and increases in taxes, my property taxes are now 25% more than my mortgage interest. I think the only reason homeowners in NJ are able to pay the property tax bills is because they pay half as much mortgage interest today.

  13. Cronut Nom Deplume says:

    Laugh for the day. No surprises on the plus side. I’ve been saying for years that my industry breeds sociopaths.


  14. Street Justice says:

    How to modify your AR15, so that you “legally” do not have to register the weapon in States like CA, CT, etc.


  15. Michael says:

    Ben, forgot to mention, I had no idea that bus drivers, lunch ladies, and custodians were a part of the teachers union. I honestly never heard of this before. That’s pretty weird.

  16. grim says:

    Question is, should we expect property taxes to go up at the same rate of inflation as the CPI, or at a different rate?

    The “basket of goods” provided by property taxes is in no way similar to the CPI, in fact, it is significantly more weighted towards those subcomponents of the CPI that have grown faster than the baseline rate (energy, healthcare, commodities, etc).

    Increase in property taxes is not unique to NJ – I know we always seem to take the spotlight due to our rankings, but make no mistake, property taxes are going up everywhere, in many cases they are accelerating in other geographies.

  17. Michael says:

    Damn, it must be miserable to be this sort of person. More like a machine than a human being. Sounds like a description of Arnold’s best character, “The Terminator”

    “Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial character, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality.”

  18. joyce says:

    Politician didn’t make the cut?

  19. joyce says:

    something that has already been said here for the better part of a decade


    “It’s an article of faith in the school reform community that we should be striving to prepare all students for success in college.

    For many students in high school today, learning a trade makes much more sense than a college education. A trade returns income immediately and typically does not involve taking on any debt at all. It is quite difficult to offshore many trade skills, as they must be performed for the customer at the point where that service is purchased. While trades may not be prestigious vocations, they do pay a decent living wage and, wisely chosen, will always be in demand in some form or fashion.”

  20. JJ says:

    Chifi I see someone in secondary selling Jeffries Bonds at a good yield if interested.

    Nothing left in Muni bond market, Junk Overvalued and S&P at a record and savings accounts still at zero.

    Honestly this bodes well for the Spring Real Estate Market, if Obama signs the Flood Affordability bill in next few days I can see the Jersey Shore beach market being really hot these next few weeks.

  21. Street Justice says:

    A ‘Secret Formula’ to Lower Taxes in NJ? [POLL/AUDIO]
    By David Matthau March 21, 2014 6:02 AM

    Gov. Chris Christie says he’s finally found the secret formula to lower property taxes in the Garden State — although it’s not really a secret at all.

    (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)
    Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall meeting in Flemington on March 20.
    During his latest town hall meeting in Flemington Thursday, the governor told an overflow crowd of more than 500 people “we have to start sharing services among these like towns, and I think we should do much more of what Princeton just did, which was to merge the two towns.”

    Christie said it makes no sense that neighboring towns have two schools, libraries, police departments and two of everything else that doubles the cost for taxpayers.

    “Does the book in the Mendham Township library read differently than the book in the Mendham Borough library?” Christie asked. “It’s the same damn book, everybody. We’re paying over and over and over again for this stuff.”

    He said most New Jersey residents seem to love the idea of sharing, but when push comes to shove, they wind up insisting “my town of course is unique and special and different, and has a historical significance that is a part of the woven fabric of New Jersey, and we couldn’t be compromised in any way to merge our planning, our libraries, our police departments, our fire departments, or anything else, because we are just so unique.”

    His response to that was, “You’re not! Every town is special!”

    Read More: A ‘Secret Formula’ to Lower Taxes in NJ? [POLL/AUDIO] | http://nj1015.com/a-secret-formula-to-lower-taxes-in-nj-audio/?trackback=tsmclip

  22. Fast Eddie says:

    Governmentcorporate rapaciousness leaves no space for ethics.

  23. JJ says:

    Reaology is one of the most ethical companies in the world three years running In fact they are one of the very few companies like this that did not default during financial crisis. I sued to own Reaology bonds. They have won multiple awards for their strong ethics

  24. AG says:

    2, grim, there will be a new generation of debt avoiding folks as a result of the housing bubble.

  25. Street Justice says:

    Newark = Your tax dollars at work yay!

    Sign the petition
    State Senators Sam Thompson (R-12) and Ron Rice (D-28) have launched a bipartisan initiative calling for the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” to open a full inquiry into government abuses of power and cover-ups in the City of Newark under former mayor and now U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

    Every year, taxpayers send more than $100 million in state aid, in addition to federal tax dollars, to the City of Newark to help their struggling community. But we’ve recently learned through a state report of payroll abuses, unauthorized checks out of public coffers and no bid contracts to family members.

    The Select Committee on Investigation is empowered to investigate any matter raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power.

    By signing this petition, I agree that legislators in Trenton who sit on the Select Committee should investigate such abuses in Newark.


  26. Michael says:

    21- Of course, but let’s see if it actually happens.

  27. Ragnar says:

    Why worry about waste when you’re living in a prestigious town like Newark? Or living in prestigious NJ helping to fund Newark? As Mike might imagine, if they weren’t able to steal money, who would be willing to work in NJ government positions? These brilliant public officials would otherwise occupy themselves making $10mn per year running big corporations, so their time is really a gift to the community.

  28. Michael says:

    19- Joyce, I totally agree with you on this. It is crazy to try and force an entire population to graduate from college. Not everyone is meant to be a scholar. It’s the truth.

  29. funnelcloud says:

    Thought for the day
    Wouldn’t it be nice to take all the libtards from all over the united states and move them to NY & NJ Then build a wall around these states and forbid them from traveling around the rest of the country. Politicians should be required to remain here In retirement. The new order would be free to regulate how many times one is permited to fart in a day under a new gas release clause, or what soda you can drink under a new health clause, How long you have to sleep, and they can tax tax tax to their hearts content and create a micro communist society they so desperately long for. They can have all the gun control or smoking rules they like and create their vision of a utopia. anon would gooosh in his pants

  30. anon (the good one) says:

    from asymco

    “To earn profit is hard, to do so in an outsized way is very hard and to do so with consistency shows a defensibility of market access that is rarest of all. The only cases where this typical is in a monopoly or protected market situation (aka cronyism.) Apple’s lack of market monopoly coupled with a (near-) monopoly in profits can only be explained by disproportionate value creation.

    The mystery then is how is it possible to build a monopoly in value creation.”

  31. funnelcloud says:

    Oh that can’t happen, That would fall under an unauthorized discharge law

  32. anon (the good one) says:

    it has already been done. North East has one of the highest concentrations of wealth, education , research, finance and liberals. who’s the major of NYC?

    the question is why teatards in NJ & NY don’t move to the south where the highest concentration of right wing nuts live

    funnelcloud says:
    March 21, 2014 at 10:50 am
    Thought for the day
    Wouldn’t it be nice to take all the libtards from all over the united states and move them to NY & NJ

  33. funnelcloud says:

    They are and they are taking there money and brainpower with them, most libtards are not money makers they only know how to tax themselves to wealth or redistribute the earnings of those who earn the money, the real job creators have been leaving this area for a long time, Like I said now is the time to wall you idiots off and and keep you here so when you finally collapse the ecomomy you don’t move to where the new wealth accumulates. The south.

  34. Funnelcloud still in Kansas says:

    #30 Funnelcloud

    This is how a Jersey person feels down south:


    I know you are probably one of these tards here:


  35. Fast Eddie says:

    anon (the good one),

    How much of your post-tax dollars are you contributing to the victims at the hands of those who dare to toil and excel despite a liberal agenda creating endless obstacles aimed at creating larger failure?

  36. Street Justice says:

    Another loss for Camden. My gut tells me the left leaning NJ Supreme Court will side with the Union.

    Who cares that theres not enough tax revenue to support the old Camden PD Right? As any good democratic voter will tell you, there’s always more money.


  37. grim says:

    37 – How can there be money problems? Clearly the people of Camden are not paying their fair share.

  38. Funnelcloud says:

    Funnelcloud still in Kansas says:

    The first video looks like an out take from any NY School
    The second looks like a hell of alot of fun
    Kepp protecting your libby bro you tart

  39. grim says:

    I will neither admit nor deny to being pulled behind a 4 wheeler on a snowboard with a tow rope.

  40. Anon E. Moose says:

    Street [14];

    What AR-15? I haven’t seen any AR-15s and would have no idea where to find one. ;-)

  41. funnelcloud says:

    40.grim says:
    March 21, 2014 at 11:53 am
    I will neither admit nor deny to being pulled behind a 4 wheeler on a snowboard with a tow rope.

    Grim If you haven’t you know you would want to try it Come on fess up

    Problem with the Libbies is they are so busy trying to govern other peoples lives that they take no time to live themselves, If they disagree with it they want to outlaw it If their afraid of it they bash it, They view themselves as crusaders that must save the multitudes from themselves Professionally, a good many of them are leeches on society, with multi generational family members suckling on the gov’t teet in one way or another. Like ticks they will move to where the feeding is good but create nothing themselves, They are welfare recipients that show up for a job thats created by other libtards to perpetuate a voting block. So Of course they are going to lash out when you call them out for what they are. I would just like to see them all rounded up and put in one area so they can be happy.

  42. Ben says:

    Ben, forgot to mention, I had no idea that bus drivers, lunch ladies, and custodians were a part of the teachers union. I honestly never heard of this before. That’s pretty weird.

    Every district is different. In mine, bus drivers are from a private company. So are the lunch ladies. But secretaries, guidance counselors, and what not are all part of the same union here. I love these people, but at the end of the day, I don’t quite agree with being unionized for them. I think there should be separate unions for separate employees and. I also think the elementary, middle, and high schools should all have different unions. It will never happen. The leadership only cares about strength in numbers. They don’t care about where those numbers come from.

  43. Funnelcloud was a Kochs Brothers lover says:

    Funnelcloud, I know you are angry. I know you got fired from your job as one of the Koch Brother’s diaper changer, and the job was taken over by a goober, my liberal side feels for you here:


    But we have enough problems in NJ. I know you are limited and prefer to dwell on those that you think are below you, instead of concentrating on the 0.01% that are deflowering every second. As high on the pecking order you think you are, realize that the 0.01% think you are this:


  44. Anon E. Moose says:

    Funnelcloud [42];

    A liberal is someone who doesn’t care what you do, as long as its mandatory.

  45. chicagofinance says:

    clot? you feeling it?

  46. chicagofinance says:


  47. chicagofinance says:

    Where’s the champagne?

  48. chicagofinance says:

    clot: where TF are you?

  49. Libturd in the City says:

    I read this morning that the Citi Bikesharing program is bleeding money. Another wonderful liberal idea that was a huge waste of money.

  50. Street Justice says:

    Libturd, that is by design. You aren’t surprised are you?

  51. JJ says:

    Tri-state neighborhood with Largest year over year gain.

    Battery Park, New York City, New York
    Year-over-year gain: 97.3%

    Median sale price, Jan. 2013: $668,250

    Median sale price, Jan. 2014: $1,318,301

    New York City’s 92-acre planned community includes areas built on more than 3 million cubic yards of soil and rock, some of which was excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center.

  52. Pete says:

    Citibike is a huge waste of who’s money? Unlike other cities, nyc didn’t use public funding. So why would it be designed to lose money on purpose? Not much of a business model.

  53. jj (23)-

    Any of the “ethics” in place at Realogy were learned from Cendant, a veritable human sewer.

  54. Woops. Anti-Dook rant moderated.

    Chi, I had Mercer in my bracket. Today was no upset.

  55. Street Justice says:

    Only electric cars?

    TRENTON — A Bergen County lawmaker has introduced a bill that would let electric car retailers, like Tesla Motors Inc., sell directly to consumers.

    State Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen), the primary sponsor, said the bill would trump a March 11 decision by the Motor Vehicle Commission which effectively banned sales of Tesla’s Model S. The luxury car maker has showrooms in Short Hills and Paramus, which is in Eustace’s district.

    “What we should be doing is supporting American entrepreneurs and American businesses,” said Eustace, who drives an all-electric Nissan Leaf.

    The measure would exempt cars from the franchise rule, according to a draft of the bill (A2986) obtained by The Star-Ledger.

    State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who has introduced dealer-backed legislation (S927) that favors car dealerships in their dealings with manufacturers, said he will offer an amendment that could let Tesla operate independently until electric cars reach a critical mass.

    He suggested 4 percent of all cars sold in the U.S., which is in line with President Obama’s pledge to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2018.

    Gov. Chris Christie, who chooses MVC board members, has said only the Legislature can change an existing law that critics say gives auto dealerships a monopoly on car sales.

    “I’m not pushing Tesla out; the state Legislature did,” Christie said this week. “They passed a law, which is still on the books, which says if you want to sell cars in this state, you must go through an authorized dealer. My job is not to make the laws, it’s to enforce the laws. And Tesla was operating outside the law.”

  56. anon (the good one) says:

    as clot requested, children have been armed

    @Gothamist: B15 Bus Rider Fatally Shot When 14-Year-Old Fires ‘Wildly’ http://t.co/K324hVfZxG

  57. Armed children increase the likelihood that one of them can take out anon.

  58. anon (the good one) says:

    have to agree. F duke

    Ascent of the Robots says:
    March 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm
    Armed children increase the likelihood that one of them can take out anon.

  59. Essex says:

    It’s a scam. We all know it.

  60. Juic Box says:

    Tesla will be forgotten soon enough. Terrafugia has a Flying Car!


  61. Juic Box says:

    Question for the peanut gallery. Who is not busy?

  62. Juic Box says:

    Vick to the Jets. It seems all Woody cares about is jersey sales.

  63. grim says:

    62 – Holy ugly… Besides, I don’t trust most Americans’ ability to drive, and you want them to fly?

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