Existing Sales Retreat 2.5% in April


Existing-home sales decreased 2.5% in April to a level 1.4% below a year ago, and sales have now decreased year-over-year for two consecutive months. The first-time buyer share of 33% was an increase from last month, but remains down from 34% a year ago. The National Association of Realtors reported that 57% of homes sold last month were on the market less than a month. The April inventory increased 9.8%, but remains 6.3% below the level a year ago, and has decreased for 35 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis. At the current sales rate, the April unsold inventory represents a 4.0-month supply, down from a 4.2-month supply a year ago. April existing sales reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.46 million units, compared to 5.60 million in March. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

Existing sales were unchanged in the Midwest, but fell 2.9% in the South, 3.3% in the West and 4.4% in the Northeast. Year-over-year sales increased 2.2% in the South, but decreased 0.8% in the West, 3.0% in the Midwest and 11.0% in the Northeast.

Homes stayed on the market for 26 days in April, down from 30 days in February and 29 days a year ago.

The April all-cash sales share was 21% in April, compared to 20% in March and unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 15% share in April, unchanged from last month and a year ago.

The April median sales price of $257,900 was up 5.3% from a year ago, representing the 74th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The April median condominium/co-op price of $242,500 was up 3.4% from a year ago.

The increase in demand for existing homes continues to face the challenge of limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage rates. Builder confidence remains strong because of that limited inventory, along with employment gains and a demographic tailwind. The increase in the first-time buyer share is promising news.

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