US Data Preview: Existing Homes Seen At 4.48M;New Homes Up

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Upcoming data from the Commerce Department and the National Association of Realtors will probably show a mixed performance for housing sales in October.

According to a survey of economists by Market News International, existing home sales are expected to fall to an annual sales pace of 4.48 million, and new home sales are expected to rise to a pace of 314,000 sales.

“There are many factors which don’t make the numbers clear, they could be volatile for some time,” Jill Brown, economist at Credit Suisse, said in a telephone interview.

The housing market has been on unsteady footing since the expiration of the homebuyers’ tax credit at the end of April. The market has made a modest recovery since the initial drop-off following the expiration, though sales have still been generally weak.

Most of this recovery has been seen in the existing homes figure, which rose to an unexpected 4.53 million in September. Yun also said in the September release that the real estate market is “moving in the right direction,” and added that an annual sales pace of 5 million would be indicative of a healthy market — though he now expected 4.8 million to 4.9 million for this year as a whole.

New home sales, by contrast, have floated above and below an annual pace of 300,000 sales. If expectations are met, however, this would mark the third consecutive monthly increase in the figure.

Sales initially plunged 27% in the existing homes figure and 32% the in new homes figure after the expiration of the tax credit. The impact was delayed by several months in the existing homes figure because sales are counted only after the completion of a contract, where as new homes are counted when contracts are signed.

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