A new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales, fell by 2.3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units. That was worse than economists had expected but completed transactions have still increased 1.6 percent over the past twelve months. Regionally, existing home sales last month fell in the South (-5.0%), the West (-3.3%), and the Northeast (-2.7%) but rose in the Midwest (+3.8%). Total housing inventory rose to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale in April, although this was 9.0 percent lower compared to a year ago.
The median selling price was $244,800 last month, up 6.0 percent from April 2016 and therefore the 62nd consecutive month of annual growth. Although the headline sales weakness in April was a bit disappointing, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, stressed that the “dip in closings was somewhat expected given that there was such a strong sales increase in March at 4.2 percent, and new and existing inventory is not keeping up with the fast pace homes are coming off the market.” Yun added that “Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it's stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase. … Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets, and when one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher.”
Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch