There's plenty of life in the housing sector with existing home sales up a stronger-than-expected 2.0 percent in July to a 5.59 million annual rate. And demand is well ahead of supply which is very thin, at 4.8 months at the current sales rate vs 4.9 and 5.1 in the two prior months and 5.6 months in July last year. Sales are up 10.3 percent year-on-year, well ahead of the median price which, at $234,000, is up 5.6 percent. This mismatch, especially with thin supply, hints at pricing power ahead.
Single-family homes lead the report, up 2.7 percent in the month at a 4.960 million annual rate. Condos, where demand on the new home side is soaring, actually fell 3.1 percent in the month to a 630,000 rate. Year-on-year, sales of single-family homes are up 11.0 percent with condos at plus 5.0 percent.
By region, July's strength is centered in the South with a gain of 4.1 percent. The West follows at plus 3.2 percent with the Midwest unchanged and the Northeast down 2.8 percent. Year-on-year, sales are very evenly balanced with all right at the 10 percent mark.
The balance of this report is impressive, pointing to a rising tide of strength across housing which, given spotty performances by the factory and consumer sectors, looks to be the leading driver for the second-half economy.