Existing-home sales slowed in April, with all major regions of the country – except the Midwest – experiencing declines as buyer demand continues to far exceed the number of homes for-sale, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest housing report.
Total existing-home sales – reflecting completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in April, NAR reports. Despite the dip, sales are about 6 percent above year ago levels.
April sales failed to keep the robust gain seen in March, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist
“April’s setback is the result of lagging supply relative to demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices,” Yun says. “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.”
Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales fared across the country in April:
- Northeast: sales declined 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 620,000, but are 1.6 percent above a year ago. Median price: $253,200, up 3.6 percent compared to April 2014.
- Midwest: sales increased 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in April, and are 13 percent above April 2014. Median price: $173,700, up 11.4 percent from a year ago.
- South: sales decreased 6.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.04 million in April, but are still 3.6 percent above April 2014. Median price: $189,400, up 8.5 percent from a year ago.
- West: decreased 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.16 million in April, but are still 6.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $318,700, which is 10 percent above April 2014.
But the limited for-sale inventories may continue to hold back sales.
“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,” says Yun. “To put it in perspective, roughly 40 percent of properties sold last month went at or above asking price, the highest since NAR began tracking this monthly data in December 2012.”