The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that property sales and prices are up in the U.S., marked by a 3.4% seasonally-adjusted increase for the year ending in April and a 10% increase on the month. NAR economists say the boost is being driven by more activity by traditional homebuyers looking to take advantage of exceptional market conditions. Shrinking inventory in foreclosed homes is creating more demand in many areas, say analysts, which has boosted the median home price across all property types by more than 10% for the year. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.
Existing home sales in the United State increased in April and remain above a year ago, while home prices are also on the up, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The improvements in sales and prices were broad based across all regions. Total completed transactions that include single family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April from a downwardly revised 4.47 million in March and are 10% than higher than in April 2011.
‘It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices,’ said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
‘The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas it has become a seller’s market,’ he added.
Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 9.5% to 2.54 million existing homes available for sale, a seasonal increase which represents a 6.6 month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 6.2 month supply in March. Listed inventory is 20.6% below a year ago when there was a 9.1 month supply. The record for unsold inventory was 4.04 million in July 2007.
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‘A diminishing share of foreclosed property sales is helping home values. Moreover, an acute shortage of inventory in certain markets is leading to multiple biddings and escalating price conditions,’ Yun explained.
Areas with tight supply include the Washington, D.C., Miami, Naples in Florida, North Dakota, Phoenix, Orange County in California and Seattle. ‘We expect stronger price increases in most of these areas,’ said Yun.
The national median existing home price for all housing types jumped 10.1% to $177,400 in April from a year ago and the March price showed an upwardly revised 3.1% annual improvement.
‘This is the first time we’ve had back to back price increases from a year earlier since June and July of 2010 when the gains were less than one percent. For the year we’re looking for a modest overall price gain of 1 to 2% with stronger improvement in 2013,’ Yun pointed out.
Distressed homes, that is foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts, accounted for 28% of April sales of which 17% were foreclosures and 11% were short sales, down from 29% in March and 37% in April 2011.
Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 21% below market value in April, while short sales were discounted 14%.
NAR President Moe Veissi said home buyers should look into financing in the early stages of their search process due to the tight lending environment.
First time buyers rose to 35% of purchasers in April from 33% in March and were 36% in April 2011.
All cash sales fell to 29% of transactions in April from 32% in March and are less than the 31% in April 2011. Investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 20% of homes in April, compared with 21% in March and 20% in April 2011.
Single family home sales rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million in April from 3.97 million in March, and are 9.9% higher than the 3.72 million unit pace a year ago. The median existing single family home price was $178,000 in April, up 10.4% from April 2011.
Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 in April from 500,000 in March, and are 10.4% above the 480,000 unit level in April 2011. The median existing condo price was $172,900 in April, which is 8.1% above a year ago.
Regionally, existing home sales in the Northeast rose 5.1% to an annual level of 620,000 in April and are 19.2% higher than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $256,600, up 8.8% from April 2011.
Existing home sales in the Midwest increased 1% in April to a pace of 1.03 million and are 14.4% above April 2011. The median price in the Midwest was $141,400, up 7.4% from a year ago.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 3.5% to an annual level of 1.79 million in April and are 6.5% higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $153,400, up 8% from April 2011.
Existing home sales in the West increased 4.4% to an annual pace of 1.18 million in April and are 7.3% above April 2011. The median price in the West was $221,700, a surge of 15.9% from a year ago.
This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.