US Sep existing home sales fall, but recovery continuing

19 October 2012 18:18  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US sales of existing homes fell by 1.7% in September from August, eroding some of the sharp 8% gain seen in August, but real estate economists said on Friday that the nation’s housing recovery is continuing.

In its monthly report on existing home sales, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that activity last month fell modestly to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 4.75m units compared with the August rate of 4.83m.

The association noted that despite that narrow loss, existing home sales in September were still 11% higher than in the same month a year ago, suggesting that the market is generally in advance.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said that the housing market trend is climbing.

“Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we’re experiencing a genuine recovery,” he said.

Yun noted that the inventory of existing homes available for sale at the end of September fell by 3.3% from August to a total of 2.32m, representing a 5.9-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.

The August inventory level was a six-month supply.

Here, too, the NAR notes that the August-September inventory level at or just below six months marks a 20% reduction from the same period a year ago when existing homes available for sale represented an eight-month supply.

In addition, a six-month inventory of existing homes for sale is within the four- to six-month supply range considered normal for a non-recessionary US housing market.

The US housing industry is a key downstream consumer sector for the nation’s chemicals manufacturers, driving demand for a broad range of chemicals and plastics used in home construction or in production of end-use components.

While the construction of new single-family homes is the principal consumer sector for chemicals and resins, improving sales of existing homes helps drive demand for new housing by taking previously owned residences off the market.

Beyond the September decline in existing home sales, various other recent housing industry reports have affirmed what many see as a genuine and strengthening recovery for the sector.

Earlier this week, the US Commerce Department reported a sharp 15% gain in September for housing starts, and US home builders said they expect the market for new homes to continue growing through 2014.

Home builders also reported continuing and expanding confidence in the housing market going forward, marking the sixth straight month of growing expectations.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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