Existing Home Sales Increase

April 2012 existing home sales increased 3.4 percent from the downwardly revised March level, and are up 10.0 percent from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported April 2012 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.62 million single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. The downwardly revised March 2012 seasonally adjusted rate was 4.47 million sales, and the seasonally adjusted rate a year ago in April 2011 was 4.20 million units.

In April 2012, single-family existing home sales were 9.9 percent above the level of a year ago, and up 3.0 percent from March. The April 2012 level of single-family existing sales was 4.09 million sales compared to 3.72 million seasonally adjusted single-family existing sales a year ago, and 3.97 million seasonally adjusted single-family sales in March. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales of 530,000 in April 2012 were up 6.0 percent from March, and up 10.4 percent from the same period a year ago.   

The total housing inventory at the end of April increased 9.5 percent from the previous month to 2.54 million existing homes for sale, from 2.32 million homes in March. At the current sales rate, the April 2012 inventory represents a 6.6-month supply which is up from a 6.2-month supply in March, but much improved from the 9.1-month supply of 3.2 million homes a year ago. NAR reported 28 percent of April 2012 sales were distressed sales, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 29 percent in March and 37 percent a year ago. The median sales price of existing homes rose to $177,400 in April 2012, up 10.1 percent from the same period a year ago.

April 2012 all cash sales decreased to 29 percent of transactions, down from 32 percent in March and 31 percent from the same period a year ago. Investors accounted for 20 percent of April 2012 home sales, down from 21 percent in March and unchanged from a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 35 percent of April 2012 sales, up from 33 percent in March, but down from 36 percent a year ago. 

The March 2012 Pending Home Sales Index increased 4.1 percent from February.  So it was expected that existing home sales would increase in April and May. The increase in April 2012 existing sales is consistent with the pattern between existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index.

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