WHAT: National Association of Realtors Existing Home Sales, March
WHEN: Monday 1000 EDT (1400 GMT)
FORECASTS (annual rate) Reuters IFR Previous
Total sales (mln units) 5.01 5.00 4.98
IFR COMMENTARY: 'Existing home sales likely edged up to around a
5.00 mln annualized rate in March from an initial report of 4.98
mln in February. Our call would just edge out November's 4.99
mln for the fastest pace of sales since November 2009, when they
were inflated by an expiring homebuyer tax credit. The Pending
Home Sales Index, which correlates will with existing home sales
about a month and a half later, slipped 0.4% in February after a
3.8% jump in January.
Though still a bit below the pre-bubble average rate, it
should still be fast enough to continue drawing down excess
inventory where it still exists as well as absorbing shadow
inventory coming online. Inventories (not seasonally adjusted)
hit a 13-year low in January before rebounding a bit last month,
with the months' supply at an about-normal 4.7.
The percentage of sales made up of foreclosures has come up
a bit recently, restraining prices but boosting the headline
sales number. Prices should stiffen further as lenders make
progress clearing out their REO inventory, and foreclosure rates
continue to cool.'
-- by Theodore Littleton of IFR Markets, a unit of Thomson
((--Reuters Economics and Markets desk, +1 212 646 6300))
Keywords: IFR PREVIEW/USA
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