In December, US existing home sales rose for a third consecutive month, broadly in line with expectations. Existing home sales rose by 5.0% M/M to a total level of 4.61
million, while the previous figure was slightly downwardly revised. The details show that sales of both single family homes (4.6% M/M) and condos (8.7% M/M) rose in December and the rebound was also wide-spread across regions. Months’ supply dropped from 7.2 to 6.2 and the number of existing homes available for sale fell from 2.62 million to 2.38 million. Both median (from $160 800 to $164 500) and average (from $210 400 to $212 000) and average prices picked up in December. The outcome is very much in line with expectations and confirms the (slight) improvement in housing market conditions recently. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see whether the rebound continues as the recent strength might be partly due to the warmer weather.
In December, UK retail sales rebounded by 0.6% M/M, in line with expectations, while the previous figure was downwardly revised from -0.4% M/M to -0.5% M/M. The details show that sales of food (0.4% M/M), textiles, clothing & footwear (1.8% M/M), non-specialised stores (1.2% M/M) and predominantly auto fuel (0.6% M/M) rose in December, while household goods sales (-2.4% M/M) and non-store retailing (-0.9% M/M) fell back. Strong discounting probably boosted Christmas shopping in December. We believe however that the rebound will be short-lived as earnings growth remains very modest, while inflation is still stubbornly high, indicating that households’ budgets are under pressure, which will probably keep spending limited.