Existing-home sales 1, which are finalized transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.6 percent nationally to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million units in February from 5.05 million in January, but are 7.0 percent higher than the 4.69 million-unit pace in February 2009.
Inventory is now up to a 8.6 month supply. That is with claims homes are being kept off the market (shadow inventory) and Calculated Risk predicts inventory will increase in spring. (link has lots of graphs).
Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 9.5 percent to 3.59 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.6-month supply2 at the current sales pace, up from a 7.8-month supply in January. Raw unsold inventory is 5.5 percent below a year ago.
Investors counted for 19% of the sales.
A parallel NAR practitioner survey4 shows first-time buyers purchased 42 percent of homes in February, up from 40 percent in January. Investors accounted for 19 percent of transactions in February, compared with 17 percent in January; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers.
According to CBS Market Watch this is a signal for a possible double-dip recession.