I think not. As Calculated Risk notes, on an annual basis the two series track each other pretty closely. But, CR continues, there is a conceptual difference that alters their month-to-month timing. Reported new home sales data are based on when the contract is signed, whereas existing home sales are based on closing. Closing usually follows the contract by 30-60 days. Here’s what the recent data look like when you lag existing home sales 2 months behind the new home sales:
Viewed this way, the two series are in agreement that there was a rebound in both new and existing home sales in contracts signed between July and December. I predicted that rebound last October and attributed it to the drop in mortgage rates that occurred last July and the tendency of new home sales to respond to mortgage rates with a considerable lag. However, according to my estimate of those lags, that stimulus from lower interest rates would have vanished by February. In my opinion, the dominant factor for the next few months is likely to be the consequences of the tightening lending standards.
So, I read the existing home sales data as old news. The Econbrowser Emoticon stays grumpy.