Thursday, August 21, 2014

Existing Home Sales and America's Uneven Housing Market Recovery

Updated September 22, 2014

While statistics for existing home sales have shown improvement since the end of the Great Recession, it's interesting to look at how the improvement has varied across the United States.

Let's open with a map showing the four census regions of the United States:


Now, let's look at the data for existing home sales on a nationwide basis and on a more specific census region basis.  Here is a graph showing existing home sales for the entire U.S.:


Here is a graph showing existing home sales for the Northeast Census Region:


Here is a graph showing existing home sales for the South Census Region:


Here is a graph showing existing home sales for the Midwest Census Region:


Here is a graph showing existing home sales for the West Census Region:


If you look at all four regions, it is clear that there are wide variations in how well the housing market has recovered when measured using existing home sales as a metric.  Let's look at the numbers in detail.

Nationally, at the peak in September 2005, 7.26 million houses were sold on an annual basis.  This dropped to a low of 3.45 million in July 2010, a drop of 52.5 percent, and has recovered to 5.15 million in July 2014 which is still 29.1 percent below its peak.

In the Northeast, the peak in sales was in June and August 2005 when 1.21 million homes were sold on an annual basis.  This dropped to a low of 450,000 in July 2010, a drop of 62.8 percent which exceeds the national average by a wide margin.  Since then, existing home sales have shown a modest recovery to 640,000 units which is still 47.1 percent below its peak.

In the South, the peak in sales was in September 2005 when 2.79 million homes were sold on an annual basis.  This dropped to a low of 1.38 million in July 2010, a drop of 49.5 percent which is less than the national average.  Since then, existing home sales have risen to their current level of 2.12 million which is 24 percent below its peak.

In the Midwest, the peak in sales was in June 2005 when 171,000 units were sold on an annual basis. This dropped to a low of 43,000 in January 2009, a drop of 74.9 percent which again, exceeds the national average by a wide margin.  Since then, existing home sales have risen to their current level of 123,000 which is 28.1 percent below its peak.

Last, in the West, the peak in sales was in August 2005 when 1.68 million homes were sold on an annual basis.  This dropped to a low of 850,000 in October 2007 and January 2008, a drop of 49.4 percent.  Since then, existing home sales have risen to their current level of 1.17 million which is 30.4 percent below its peak.


From this, we can see that the Northeast Census region has shown the lowest level of improvement when the health of the housing market is measured using existing home sales as the metric.  With the number of sales still 47.1 percent below its peak, the housing market in the Northeast is lagging its peers in the South (24 percent below its peak), the Midwest (28.1 percent below its peak) and the West (30.4 percent below its peak).  While I realize that the peak in sales was largely due to the housing bubble, it is interesting to see how widely variable the improvement in the level of home sales has been since the end of the Great Recession depending on where you live in the United States.

1 comment:

  1. Well i can only speak about NY but a big issue is the damn taxes. Not many can afford to pay the morgage and the taxes so alot of house sit for long time before someone buys them. This link will show you what i mean 123k house 6k per year taxes and this is common. This does not include school taxes this is only property tax.
    http://www.zillow.com/town-of-newburgh-ny/#/homedetails/22-Park-Ave-Newburgh-NY-12550/31793717_zpid/

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