According to raw counts, 555,000 existing homes and 58,000 new homes were sold in May. These numbers represent a 24 percent increase for existing home sales from one month prior and a 2 percent increase in new home sales. This year’s May sales for existing homes are up from an 11 percent average increase in past years, while new home sales remain steady at a 2 percent increase.
These figures are very different from the more commonly published seasonally adjusted percentages, which for May state that existing home sales increased only 1.1 percent while new home sales rose 2.9 percent. The Economists’ Outlook blog for the National Association of Realtors explains that using seasonally adjusted figures can account for predictable events that affect markets, such as the December holidays or summer vacation. But for people in specific industries, they may not tell the whole story.
For everyday practitioners, simple raw counts of home sales are often more meaningful than the seasonally adjusted figures. The raw count determines income and helps better assess how busy the market has been.
Based on raw figures from past years, builders can expect busier home-buying activity in June for existing homes, but raw sales in new homes are expected to drop by between 6 and 12 percent.