April existing-home sales slip

Existing-home sales decreased 0.8% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million from a downwardly revised 5.09 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The April rate is 12.9% below a 5.80 million pace in April 2010; sales surged in April and May 2010 due to the home buyer tax credit. 

“Given the great affordability conditions, job creation and pent-up demand, home sales should be stronger,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Although existing-home sales are expected to trend up unevenly through next year, unnecessarily tight credit is continuing to restrain the market, along with a steady level of low appraisals that result in contract cancellations.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $163,700 in April, down 5% from April 2010. Distressed homes accounted for 37% of sales in April, down from 40% in March, but up from 33% in April 2010.

Total housing inventory at the end of April increased 9.9% to 3.87 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.3-month supply in March.

Single-family home sales dropped 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in April from 4.44 million in March, and are 12.6% below the 5.06 million-pace in April 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $163,200 in April, 5.4% below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 3.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 in April from 650,000 in March, and are 15% below the 741,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $167,300 in April, down 2.3% from April 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.5% to an annual pace of 740,000 in April and are 32.1% below a year-ago surge. In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 5.7% to 1.12 million but are 16.4% below a cyclical peak in April 2010. In the South, existing-home sales declined 1% to an annual pace of 1.95 million in April and are 9.3% below a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West dropped 1.6% to an annual level of 1.24 million in April and are 0.8% below April 2010. 

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