US existing home sales picked unexpectedly up in January, while the previous figures were downwardly revised. Existing home sales rose by 4.3% M/M in January, while the previous figure was downwardly revised from 5.0% M/M to -0.5% M/M. Overall however, the figures were broadly in line with expectations as existing home sales rose to 4.57 million, while a level of 4.66 million was forecast. The level of existing home sales is now at its highest level since May 2010. Looking at the details, both sales of existing condo’s (8.3% M/M) and existing single family homes (3.8% M/M) picked up at the start of 2012. Regional data indicate that strength was widespread and led by the West (8.8% M/M), South (3.5% M/M) and Northeast (3.4% M/M), while existing home sales rose only slightly in the Midwest (1.0% M/M). The inventory of existing homes for sale dropped in January by 0.4% M/M to a total level of 2.310 million, the lowest level since May 2004, while months’ supply fell from 6.4 to 6.1. While the data are rather close to expectations, they confirm that the US housing market is very gradually improving, which we hope will be confirmed in the coming months as also other data suggest that the worst is over for US housing.