Sunday, March 20, 2022

February’s retail sales, producer prices, industrial production, housing construction, & existing home sales; January’s business inventories, et al

Major monthly reports released over the past week included the Retail Sales report for February and the cojoined Business Sales and Inventories for January from the Census Bureau, the February report on Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization from the Fed, the February Producer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the February report on New Residential Construction, also from the Census Bureau, and the Existing Home Sales Report for February from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)....in addition, the week also saw the release of the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report for January from the BLS, a report which breaks down the two employment surveys from the monthly national jobs report by state and region....while the text of that report provides a useful summary of this data, the serious statistical aggregation can be found in the tables linked at the end of the report, where one can find the civilian labor force data and the change in payrolls by industry for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands...

This week also saw the release of the first two regional Fed manufacturing surveys for March: the Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the New York Fed, which covers all of New York state, one NYC suburban county in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and northern New Jersey, reported their headline general business conditions index fell from +3.1 in February to -11.8 in March, its lowest level since May 2020, suggesting a modest contraction of First District manufacturing... on the other hand, the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey, covering most of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware, reported its broadest diffusion index of manufacturing conditions rose to +27.4 in March from +16.0 in February, indicating a broader majority of that region's manufacturing firms are seeing increased activity this month...

Retail Sales Rose 0.3 % in February After January’s Sales were Revised 1.0% Higher

Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 0.3% in February after retail sales for January were revised 1.0% higher...the Advance Retail Sales Report for February (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled $658.1 billio during the month, which was 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* higher than January's revised sales of $656.1 billion, and 17.6 percent (±0.9 percent) above the adjusted sales in February of last year...January's seasonally adjusted sales were revised up from $649.8 billion to $656.1 billion, while December's sales were revised from $626.3 billion down to $625,459 million; as a result, the December to January change was revised up from up 3.8 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 4.9% (±0.3%)...the downward revision to December sales would indicate that 4th quarter personal consumption expenditures will be revised lower at about a $3.4 billion annual rate, which would reduce 4th quarter GDP by roughly 0.06 percentage points...estimated unadjusted sales, extrapolated from surveys of a small sampling of retailers, indicated sales were down 1.5%, from $586,401 million in January to $577,318 million in February, while they were up 17.7% from the $490,646 million of sales in February of a year ago..

Included below is the table of the monthly and yearly percentage changes in retail sales by business type taken from the February Census Marts pdf....the first pair of columns below gives us the seasonally adjusted percentage change in sales for each kind of business from the January revised figure to this month's February "advance" report in the first sub-column, and then the year over year percentage sales change since last February is in the 2nd column...the second double column pair below gives us the revision of the January advance estimates (now called "preliminary") as of this report, with the new December to January percentage change under "Dec 2021 (r)" (revised) and the January 2021 to January 2022 percentage change as revised in the last column shown...for your reference, our copy of the table of last month’s advance estimate of January sales, before this month's revisions, is here, should you be interested in more detail in how January sales were revised nearly 1% higher.…

To compute February's real personal consumption of goods data for national accounts from this February retail sales report, the BEA will use the corresponding price changes from the February consumer price index, which we reviewed last week....to estimate what they will find, we'll first separate out the volatile sales of gasoline from the other totals...from the third line on the above table, we can see that February retail sales excluding the 5.3% price-related increase in sales at gas stations were down by 0.2%....then, subtracting the figures representing the 0.5% decrease in grocery & beverage store sales and the 2.5% increase in food services sales from that total, we find that nominal core retail sales were down by roughly 0.51% for the month...since the CPI report showed that the composite price index for all goods less food and energy goods was 0.4% higher in February, we can thus approximate that real retail sales excluding food and energy will on average be down by roughly 0.9%.....however, the actual adjustment in national accounts data for each of the types of sales shown above will vary by the change in the related price index…for instance, while nominal sales at clothing stores were 1.1% higher in February, the apparel price index was 0.7% higher, which means that real sales of clothing rose around 0.4%, and the rest of the sales increase was just higher prices...similarly, while nominal sales at sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores were up 1.7%, the price index for recreational commodities was 0.9% higher, which would suggest that real sales at sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores rose by roughly 0.8%.…on the other hand, while nominal sales at health and personal care stores fell 1.8%, the price index for recreational commodities still rose 0.3%, so we can figure real sales at drug stores were down by roughly 2.1%....

In addition to figuring the real change in those core retail sales, we should also adjust food and energy retail sales for their price changes separately, as the BEA will do…the February CPI report showed that the food price index was 1.0% higher, with the index for food purchased for use at home 1.4% higher, while prices for food bought to eat away from home (other than at employee sites and schools) were 0.5% higher... thus, while nominal sales at food and beverage stores were down 0.5%, real sales of food and beverages would be roughly 1.9% lower in light of the 1.4% higher prices…meanwhile, the 2.5% increase in nominal sales at bars and restaurants, once adjusted for 0.5% higher prices, suggests that real sales at bars and restaurants rose about 2.0% during the month....on the other hand, while sales at gas stations were up 5.3%, there was a 6.6% increase in the retail price of gasoline during the month, which would suggest that real sales of gasoline were down on the order of 1.2%, with a caveat that gasoline stations do sell more than gasoline, and we haven’t accounted for those other sales....averaging real sales that we have thus estimated back together, but leaving out real restaurant and bar sales, we can then estimate that the income and outlays report for February will show that real personal consumption of goods fell by nearly 0.8% in February, after rising by a revised 5.3% in January, but after falling by a revised 4.0% in December, and falling 0.3% in November, unrevised...at the same time, the 2.0% increase in real sales at bars and restaurants would boost the growth rate of February’s real personal consumption of services by almost 0.2%...

Producer Prices Rose 0.8% in January, Annual Increase at 10%, a Record High

The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 0.8% in February, as average prices for finished wholesale goods rose by a record 2.4% while final demand for services was unchanged....that increase followed a revised 1.2% increase in January, when wholesale goods prices rose 1.5% and the price index of final demand for services rose 1.0%, a revised 0.4% increase in December, when average prices for finished wholesale goods fell 0.1%, but margins of final services providers were 0.7% higher, a revised 0.9% increase in November, when prices for finished wholesale goods rose 0.9% and margins of final services providers were 1.0% higher, and a revised 0.7% increase in October, when prices for finished wholesale goods rose 1.3% while margins of final services providers were 0.2% higher....on an unadjusted basis, producer prices are now a record 10.0% higher than a year ago, statistically matching the upwardly revised 10.0% year over year increase now shown for December's producer prices, while the core producer price index, which excludes food, energy and trade services, rose by just 0.2% for the month, and is now 6.6% higher than in a year ago, down from the revised 6.8% year over year core PPI increase that is now indicated for January...

Below we are including a graph showing the year over year change in the PPI Final Demand price index, monthly over the period that metric has been computed; though statistically the same, February's annual increase was 0.042% greater than January's, and thus a record high...

As we noted, the price index for final demand for goods, previously called 'finished goods', was a record 2.4% higher in February, after being revised to 1.5% higher in January, after being 0.1% lower in December, 0.9% higher in November, 1.3% higher in October. 1.2% higher in September, 1.0% higher in August, 0.8% higher in July, 1.3% higher in June, 1.4% higher in May, 1.0% higher in April, 1.3% higher in March, and 1.4% higher in February of last year, and hence is now up by 14.37% from a year ago, albeit still down from November's 14.85% record annual increase....the finished goods price index rose 2.4% in February as the price index for wholesale energy goods was 8.2% higher, after it had risen 3.7% in January, fallen 1.4% in December, risen by a revised 0.9% in November, and by a revised 5.0% in October, and as the price index for wholesale foods rose 1.9%, after rising 1.7% in January, falling by a revised 0.2% in December, while the index for final demand for core wholesale goods (excluding food and energy) rose 0.7% in February, after it had risen by a revised had risen 0.7% in January, by a revised 0.4% in December, by a revised 0.8% in November, and by a revised 0.7% in October....wholesale energy prices averaged 8.2% higher on a 14.4% increase in wholesale prices for gasoline, a 14.9% increase in wholesale prices for diesel fuel, a 14.8% increase in wholesale prices for home heating oil, and an 8.1% increase in wholesale prices for liquefied petroleum gas, while the wholesale food price index rose 1.9% on a 31.3% increase in wholesale prices for eggs for fresh use, a 4.5% increase in the wholesale price index for fresh fruits and melons, an 8.2% increase in the wholesale price index for shortening and cooking oils. a 9.2% increase in the wholesale price index for oilseeds, and a 9.1% increase in the wholesale price index for coffee, even as the wholesale price index for fresh and dry vegetables fell 9.4%....among core wholesale goods, the wholesale price index for household appliances rose 1.4%, the wholesale price index for industrial chemicals rose 1.5%, the wholesale price index for pumps, compressors, and related equipment rose 2.6%. the wholesale price index for agricultural machinery and equipment rose 2.0%, the wholesale price index for costume jewelry and novelties rose 4.4%, the wholesale price index for mobile homes rose 2.6%, the wholesale price index for sporting and athletic goods rose 3.7%, and the wholesale price index for truck trailers rose 6.2%....

At the same time, the index for final demand for services was unchanged in February, after rising by a revised 1.0% in January, by a revised 0.7% in December. by a revised 0.9% in November, by a revised 0.2% in October, and by 0.1% in September, by 0.8% in August, and by 1.0% in July, and is now up by 7.8% from a year ago, albeit down from the record 8.2% year over year increase that is now indicated for December....the index for final demand for trade services rose 0.2%, and the index for final demand for transportation and warehousing services rose 1.9%, while the core index for final demand for services less trade, transportation, and warehousing services was 0.4% lower...among trade services, seasonally adjusted margins for furniture retailers rose 3.0%, margins for hardware, building materials, and supplies retailers rose 6.2%, margins for TV, video, and photographic equipment and supplies retailers rose 2.0%, margins for food and alcohol retailers rose 1.8%, and margins for paper and plastics products wholesalers rose 2.2%, while margins for automobile retailers fell 2.8%, margins for fuels and lubricants retailers fell 2.7%, and margins for apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailers fell 2.2%...among transportation and warehousing services, average margins for airline passenger services rose 3.0%, margins for truck transportation of freight rose 2.0%, and margins for air transportation of freight rose 0.5%...among the components of the core final demand for services index, the price index for portfolio management fell 4.2%, the price index for consumer loans fell 2.6%, the price index for passenger car rental fell 2.2%, the price index for traveler accommodation services fell 3.4%, and the price index for application software publishing fell 4.7%, while the price index for tax preparation and planning rose 1.8%, the price index for securities brokerage, dealing, investment advice, and related services rose 1.5% and the price index for residential property sales and leases, brokerage fees and commission rose 1.2% …

This report also showed the price index for intermediate processed goods rose 1.6% in February after rising a revised 2.0% in January, but after being unchanged in December, after rising a revised 1.5% in November, 2.4% in October, 1.2% in September, and 1.0% in August....the price index for intermediate energy goods rose 7.4% in January, as producer prices for liquefied petroleum gas rose 8.1%, producer prices for industrial natural gas rose 9.1%, refinery prices for gasoline rose 14.8%, refinery prices for jet fuel rose 14.5%, and refinery prices for diesel fuel rose 14.9%... at the same time, the price index for intermediate processed foods and feeds rose 1.9%, as the producer price index for processed poultry rose 3.2%, the producer price index for dairy products rose 2.9%, the producer price index for prepared animal feeds rose 2.8%, and the producer price index for fats and oils rose 6.0%...meanwhile, the core price index for intermediate processed goods less food and energy goods rose 0.1%, as the producer price index for softwood lumber rose 2.6%, the producer price index for plywood rose 5.5%, the producer price index for switchgear, switchboard, and industrial controls equipment rose 3.3%, the producer price index for aluminum mill shapes rose 6.2%, the producer price index for metal containers rose 2.6%, the producer price index for motors, generators, motor generator sets rose 2.9%, the producer price index for primary nonferrous metals rose 5.4%, the producer price index for secondary nonferrous metals rose 3.4%, the producer price index for paint materials rose 3.3%, the producer price index for adhesives and sealants rose 3.6%, and the producer price index for nitrogenates rose 5.5%, while the producer price index for plastic resins and materials fell 3.1% and the producer price index for steel mil products fell 9.9% ...average prices for intermediate processed goods are now 23.3% higher than in February a year ago, down from their 24.6% year over year increase in January, and down from.their 26.6% year over year increase in November, which had been a 46 year high.....

Meanwhile, the price index for intermediate unprocessed goods rose 14.6% in February after rising a revised 0.1% in January, after falling by a revised 4.9% in December, rising by a revised 2.3% in November. rising by a revised 6.0% in October, and by 2.8% in September, 1.4% in August, and by 3.2% in July, by 2.1% in June, and by 7.9% in May...that was as the January price index for crude energy goods rose 32.2% as unprocessed natural gas prices rose 65.1%, crude oil prices rose 13.7% and coal prices rose 3.0%...at the same time, the price index for unprocessed foodstuffs and feedstuffs was 3.0% higher on a 30.7% increase in producer prices for slaughter hogs, a 3.3% increase in producer prices for slaughter cattle, a 8.7% increase in producer prices for alfalfa hay, and a 9.2% increase in producer prices for oilseeds....meanwhile, the index for core raw materials other than food and energy materials was 1.4% higher, as a 4.7% increase in the price index for raw cotton, a 4.3% increase in the price index for hides and skins and a 1.6% increase in the price index for construction sand, gravel, and crushed stone were partly offset by a 1.4% decrease in the price index for iron and steel scrap and a 1.0% decrease in the price index for nonferrous metal ores.....this raw materials index now now 35.1% higher than a year ago, up from the 32.3% year over year increase in Janaury, but down from the record 59.2% annual increase in April, and now the sixteenth consecutive year over year increase for this index after the annual change on this index had been negative from the beginning of 2019 through October of 2020...

Lastly, the price index for services for intermediate demand was unchanged in February, after rising a revised 0.7% in January, by 0.6% in December, by 0.8% in November, after being unchanged in October, after rising by a revised 0.3% in September, by 0.4% in August, and rising by 0.6% in July and by 1.2% in June….the price index for intermediate trade services was rose 0.8%, as margins for intermediate hardware, building materials, and supplies retailers rose 6.3%, margins for intermediate paper and plastics products wholesalers rose 2.2%, margins for intermediate food wholesalers rose 1.1% and margins for intermediate machinery and equipment parts and supplies wholesalers rose 0.9% ...at the same time, the index for transportation and warehousing services for intermediate demand was 0.6% higher, as the intermediate price index for transportation of passengers rose 3.0%, the intermediate price index for air mail and package delivery services, (not by USPS) rose 2.4%, the intermediate price index for arrangement of freight and cargo rose 2.9%, the intermediate price index for truck transportation of freight rose 2.0%, and the intermediate price index for water transportation of freight rose 1.8%, while the intermediate price index for warehousing, storage, and related services fell 3.4% and the intermediate price index for the U.S. Postal Service fell 1.9% ....on the other hand the core price index for intermediate services other than trade, transportation, and warehousing services fell 0.4%, as the intermediate price index for television advertising time sales fell 3.3%, the intermediate price index for advertising space sales in periodicals and newspapers fell 2.7%, the intermediate price index for business loans (partial) fell 2.9%%, the intermediate price index for portfolio management fell 4.2%. the intermediate price index for nonresidential real estate rents fell 2.8%, and the intermediate price index for traveler accommodation services fell 3.4%, while the intermediate price index for radio advertising time sales rose 10.0%...over the 12 months ended in January, the year over year price index for services for intermediate demand is still 7.4% higher than it was a year ago, the seventeenth consecutive positive annual increase in this index change since it briefly turned negative year over year from April to August of 2020, while it is still down from the record 9.5% year over year increase indicated for July...

Industrial Production Rose 0.5% in February After Prior Months were Revised Lower

The Fed's February G17 release on Industrial production and Capacity Utilization reported that industrial production increased by 0.5% in February after rising by a revised 1.4% in January, which meant our industrial output was 7.5% higher than in February a year ago; however, the Fed points out that severe winter weather in February 2021 significantly suppressed industrial activity during that month, so a more useful comparison would to the 4.2% increase in our industrial output from January 2021 to February 2022...the industrial production index, with the benchmark now set for average 2017 production to equal to 100.0, was at 103.6 in February, after the January index was revised down from 103.5 to 103.0 and the December index was revised down from 102.0 to 101.6...

The manufacturing index, which accounts for more than 77% of the total IP index, rose by 1.2%, from 100.4 in January to 101.5 in February, after the manufacturing index for January was revised down from 100.7 to 100.4, the manufacturing index for December index was revised down from 100.4 to 100.3, and the manufacturing index for November index was revised down from 100.6 to 100.5, leaving the manufacturing index 7.4% above its depressed year ago level....meanwhile, the mining index, which includes oil and gas well drilling, rose 0.1%, from 110.4 in January to 110.5 in February, after the January index was revised down from 111.8, which still left the mining index 17.3% above where it was a year earlier.....finally, the utility index, which often fluctuates due to above or below normal temperatures, fell by 2.7% in our near normal February weather, from 109.9 to 106.9, after our colder than normal January’s utility index was revised from 110.2 to 109.9, now up 10.4% from December...with this February's temperatures still below the record cold levels seen across much of the US last February, the utility index is now 1.2% lower than it was a year ago...

This report also includes capacity utilization data, which is expressed as the percentage of our plant and equipment that was in use during the month, and which indicated that seasonally adjusted capacity utilization for total industry rose to 77.6% in February from 77.3% in January, which was revised down from the 77.6% reported last month ...capacity utilization of NAICS durable goods production facilities rose from a revised 76.7% in January to 77.6% in February, while capacity utilization for non-durables producers rose from a downwardly revised 78.1% to 79.0%...capacity utilization for the mining sector fell to 78.0% in February from 78.1% in January, which was originally reported as 79.1%, while utilities were operating at 75.7% of capacity during February, down from their 77.9% of capacity during January, which was previously reported at 78.1%...for more details on capacity utilization by type of manufacturer, see Table 7: Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing, Mining, and Utilities, which shows the historical capacity utilization figures for a dozen types of durable goods manufacturers, 8 classifications of non-durable manufacturers, mining, utilities, and capacity utilization for a handful of other special categories..

January’s Business Sales Up 3.7%, Business Inventories Up 1.1%

After the release of the February retail sales report, the Census Bureau released the composite Manufacturing and Trade, Inventories and Sales report for January (pdf), which incorporates the revised January retail data from that February report and the earlier published January wholesale and factory data to give us a complete picture of the business contribution to the economy for that month....according to the Census Bureau, total manufacturer's and trade sales were estimated to be valued at a seasonally adjusted "$1,784.8 billion, up 3.7 percent (±0.3 percent) from December 2021 and up 15.5 percent (±0.6 percent) from January 2021"...note that total December sales were concurrently revised up from the originally reported $1,717.2 billion to $1,721,865 billion, now just a 0.5% decrease from November, rather than the 0.7% decrease previously reported....manufacturer's sales rose 1.2% in January, and retail trade sales, which exclude restaurant & bar sales from the revised January retail sales reported earlier, rose 5.7%, while wholesale sales rose 4.0%...

meanwhile, total manufacturer's and trade inventories, a major component of GDP, were estimated to be valued at a seasonally adjusted "$2,237.9 billion, up 1.1 percent (±0.1 percent) from December 2021 and were up 11.4 percent (±0.5 percent) from January 2021"..at the same time, the value of end of December inventories was revised from the $2,206.7 billion reported last month to $2,213.044 billion, now up 2.4% from November, rather than the 2.1% increase reported last month....seasonally adjusted inventories of manufacturers were estimated to be up 0.7% from December, and inventories of retailers were up 2.0% from December, while inventories of wholesalers were estimated to be valued 0.8% higher than in December...

For GDP purposes, all these inventories, including retail, will be adjusted for inflation with appropriate component price indices of the producer price index for January, which indicated finished goods prices were 1.5% higher...two weeks ago, we looked at real factory inventories with producer price adjustments for goods at various stages of production, and judged those inventories would modestly boost 1st quarter GDP…then last week, we found that January's wholesale inventories decrease alone would have a significant negative impact on 1st quarter GDP….since the nominal value of retail inventories for January has now been shown to be 2.0% higher, real retail inventories for the month, after the 1.5% finished goods price adjustment, thus would have thus increased by 0.5% from December, after a fourth quarter that saw real retail inventories increase substantially...therefore, what is shaping up to be a modest real retail inventory increase in the 1st quarter to date would still have a modest negative impact on 1st quarter GDP, by subtracting the difference between the first quarter real retail inventory increase and the amount of their larger 4th quarter increase…

Housing Starts Reported at a 15 Year High in February, Permits Reported Lower

The February report on New Residential Construction (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that their widely watched count of new housing units started was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,769,000 in February, which was 6.8 percent (±14.9 percent)* above the revised estimated January annual rate of 1,657,000, and was 22.3 percent (±14.3 percent) above last February's rate of 1,567,000 housing starts a year, and also the highest reported annual rate since June 2006...however, the asterisk indicates that the Census does not have sufficient data to determine whether housing starts actually rose or fell during the month, with the figures in parenthesis the most likely range of the change indicated; in other words, February housing starts could have been down by 8.1% or up by as much as 21.7% from those of January, with revisions of a greater magnitude in either direction still possible...in this report, the annual rate for January housing starts was revised from the 1,638,000 reported last month to 1,657,000, while December starts, which were first reported at a 1,702,000 annual rate, were revised from last month's initial revised figure of 1,708,000 annually up to a 1,754,000 annual rate with this report....

The annual rates of housing starts reported here were extrapolated from a survey of a small percentage of US building permit offices visited by canvassing Census field agents, which estimated that 124,600 housing units were started in February, up from the 119,200 units that were started in January and up from the 124,200 units that were started in December....of those housing units started in February, an estimated 83,600 were single family homes and 37,000 were units in structures with more than 5 units, up from the revised 80,100 single family starts in January. but down from the 38,300 units started in structures with more than 5 units...(NB: those figures don't add up because there were a record 3,900 units started in structures with 2 to 4 units in February, up from 800 in January, a figure usually small enough that it is often ignored..

The monthly data on new building permits, with a smaller margin of error, are probably a better monthly indicator of new housing construction trends than the volatile and often revised housing starts data….for February, Census estimated new building permits for housing units were being issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,859,000, which was 1.9 below the revised January rate of 1,895,000 permits, but was 7.7 percent above the rate of building permit issuance in February a year earlier...the annual rate for housing permits issued in January was at a 15 year high for building permits, despite being revised down from the originally reported 1,899,000....

Again, these annual estimates for new permits reported here were extrapolated from the unadjusted estimates collected monthly by canvassing census agents, which showed permits for roughly 131,000 housing units were issued in February, down from the revised estimate of 132,300 new permits issued in January....of those permits issued in February, 87,200 were permits for single family homes and 39,900 were permits for units in structures of more than 5 units, up from the 83,400 single family permits in January, but down from the 45,100 permits for units in structures of more than 5 units...for graphs and commentary on this report, see the following posts by Bill McBride at Calculated Risk: Housing Starts increased to 1.769 Million Annual Rate in February and February Housing Starts: Most Housing Units Under Construction Since 1973, which in turn links to his real estate newsletter post with the same title...

Existing Home Sales Fell 7.2% in February, Down 2.4% YoY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales decreased by 7.2% from January to February on a seasonally adjusted basis, projecting that 6.02 million existing homes would sell over an entire year if the February home sales pace were extrapolated over that year, a pace that was also 2.4% below the annual sales rate projected for February of last year....at the same time, the January home sales pace was revised from the 6.50 million annual rate reported a month ago to a 6.49 million rate with this report....the NAR also reported that the median sales price for all existing-home types was $357,300 in February, 15.0% higher than in February a year earlier, which they report "marks 120 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases, the longest-running streak on record.", even as the inventory of unsold homes increased to 870,000 by the end of February, or 1.7 months of supply at the February sales pace.....the NAR press release, which is titled "Existing-Home Sales Fade 7.2% in February", is in easy to read plain English, so if you're interested in further details on housing inventories, cash sales, distressed sales, first time home buyers, etc., you can easily find them in that press release...as sales of existing properties do not add to our national output, neither these home sales nor the prices for which these homes sell are included in GDP, except insofar as real estate, local government and banking services are rendered during the selling process…

Since this report is entirely seasonally adjusted and at a not very informative annual rate, we usually look at the raw data overview (pdf) to see what actually happened with home sales during the month...this unadjusted data indicates that roughly 357,000 homes sold in February, up 1.4% from the revised 352,000 homes that sold in January, but 2.5% fewer than the 366,000 homes that sold in February of last year....that same pdf indicates that the median home selling price for all housing types rose by 2.1%, from a revised $350,000 in January to $357,300 in February, while the average home sales price rose by 0.6% to $370,700 from the $368,500 average sales price in January, which was also up by 8.4% from the $342,100 average home sales price of February a year ago...for both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted graphs and additional commentary on this report, see the following two posts from Bill McBride at Calculated Risk: NAR: Existing-Home Sales Decreased to 6.02 million in February and More Analysis on February Existing Home Sales..

 

(the above is the synopsis that accompanied my regular sunday morning links emailing, which in turn was mostly selected from my weekly blog post on the global glass onion…if you’d be interested in receiving my weekly emailing of selected links, most of which are picked from the aforementioned GGO posts, contact me…)  

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