Existing Homes Sales Down In April, But Prices Still Heading Up

Despite properties in the United States typically selling faster than at any time since July 2013, existing home sales slowed in April, the latest data shows. But sales …

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Despite properties in the United States typically selling faster than at any time since July 2013, existing home sales slowed in April, the latest data shows.

But sales remained above an annual sales pace of five million for the second straight month, according to the report from the National Association of Realtors.

The data report also shows that median existing home prices for all housing types in April was $219,400, which is 8.9% above April 2014, the 38th consecutive month of year on year price gains and is the largest since January 2014 when it was 10.1%.

All major regions except for the Midwest experienced sales declines in April with completed transactions that include single family homes, town homes, condominiums and co–ops, falling 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in April from an upwardly revised 5.21 million in March

Despite the monthly decline, sales have increased year on year for seven consecutive months and are still 6.1% above a year ago and NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said that sales April’s setback was the result of lagging supply relative to demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices.

‘However, the overall data and feedback we’re hearing from realtors continues to point to elevated levels of buying interest compared to a year ago. With low interest rates and job growth, more buyers will be encouraged to enter the market unless prices accelerate even higher in relation to incomes,’ he added.

A regional breakdown of the figures shows that in April existing home sales in the Northeast declined 3.1% but are 1.6%. The median price in the Northeast was $253,200, which is 3.6% higher than April 2014.

In the Midwest, existing home sales increased 1.7% and are 13% above April 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $173,700, up 11.4% from a year ago.

Existing home sales in the South declined 6.8% but are still 3.6% above April 2014. The median price in the South was $189,400, up 8.5% from a year ago.

In the West existing home sales decreased 1.7% but are still 6.4% above a year ago. The median price in the West was $318,700, which is 10% above April 2014.

Total housing inventory at the end of April increased 10% to 2.21 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 0.9% below a year ago while unsold inventory is at a 5.3 month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in March.

With demand far exceeding supply, properties sold in April faster, at 39 days, than at any time since July 2013 when it was 42 days and the second shortest time since it was 37 days in June 2013.

Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 180 days in April, while foreclosures sold in 50 days and non–distressed homes took 38 days. Some 46% of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month.

‘Housing inventory declined from last year and supply in many markets is very tight, which in turn is leading to bidding wars, faster price growth and properties selling at a quicker pace,’ said Yun.

‘To put it in perspective, roughly 40% of properties sold last month went at or above asking price, the highest since NAR began tracking this monthly data in December 2012,’ he added.

The percent share of first time buyers remained at 30% in April for the second consecutive month and the data also shows that first time buyers represented 29% of all buyers in April 2014.

All cash sales were 24% of transactions in April, unchanged from March and down considerably from a year ago when they were 32%. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in April, unchanged from last month and down from 18% in April 2014 and 71% of investors paid cash in April.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.

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