What are Existing Home Sales?

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  • Written By: Luke Arthur
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2018
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Existing home sales is a statistic released by the National Association of Realtors around the 25th of every month. This statistic deals with how many existing homes were sold during a given month. It excludes new homes which were recently constructed and sold. This statistic is an important economic indicator and influences a number of other economic factors.

The existing home sales statistic is one of the most important economic indicators released every month. When looking at the economy as a whole, financial experts traditionally point to existing home sales as a way to measure economic strength. If houses are selling rapidly, this points to a strong economy. If existing home sales are down, it indicates that the economy is having problems overall.

This statistic is measured by the National Association of Realtors every month. This is an organization of real estate agents that has a very large membership. The organization holds the real estate agents to a higher standard than real estate agents who are not members have to abide by. This organization keeps track of all of the properties sold during a given month. It takes out new home sales to come up with this statistic.

The figures for existing home sales do not apply just to single-family homes. The numbers include single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. This gives a total picture of what is going on in the existing real estate market over the course of a month.


When looking at existing home sales, it is important to realize that this is a lagging indicator of economic conditions. When home sales are down, it means that other problems in the economy are present as well. For example, when individuals are suddenly unemployed, they will most likely not look to purchase a new home. Existing home sales usually decline several months after unemployment and other economic indicators are down.

This statistic plays an important role in several other financial markets besides the real estate market. For example, when the statistic of existing home sales is announced, it can play a vital role in the foreign exchange market. If the statistic is strong for the month, it will reflect positively on the value of the US dollar in relation to other currencies. If the statistic is down for the month, it can negatively impact the value of the dollar against other currencies in the market.



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