Existing Home Sales Fell 2.5% in April on Inadequate Supply
Washington, DC, May 24, 2018-Total existing-home sales decreased 2.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in April from 5.60 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors.
With last month’s decline, sales are now 1.4% below a year ago and have fallen year-over-year for two straight months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says this spring’s staggeringly low inventory levels caused existing sales to slump in April. “The root cause of the underperforming sales activity in much of the country so far this year continues to be the utter lack of available listings on the market to meet the strong demand for buying a home,” he said. “Realtors say the healthy economy and job market are keeping buyers in the market for now even as they face rising mortgage rates. However, inventory shortages are even worse than in recent years, and home prices keep climbing above what many home shoppers are able to afford.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $257,900, up 5.3% from April 2017 ($245,000). March’s price increase marks the 74th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of April increased 9.8% to 1.80 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.3% lower than a year ago (1.92 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 35 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.0-month supply at the current sales pace (4.2 months a year ago).
Properties typically stayed on the market for 26 days in April, which is down from 30 days in February and 29 days a year ago. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month.
“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace,” said Yun. “Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”