Existing-home sales up for the first time this year

The National Association of Realtors had slightly more positive news to report this month. Existing-home sales increased for the first time this year in April, bumping up 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million.

Single-family sales were up 0.5% to a rate of 4.06 million, but are still 7.7% below last year's pace. 

“Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.”

April's estimate, for one, is still 6.8% below April 2013's 4.99 million-unit pace.

However, total housing inventory ticked up 16.8% to a 5.9-month supply, a significant difference from March's 5.1-month supply.

The median existing-home price was $201,700, a 5.2% improvement year-over-year. For single-family homes, that price was $201,100, up 4.7% since last year.

“We’ll continue to see a balancing act between housing inventory and price growth, which remains stronger than normal simply because there have not been enough sellers in many areas. More inventory and increased new-home construction will help to foster healthy market conditions,” Yun added.

NAR president Steve Brown pointed out that the average time on market also shrunk in April; with more inventory comes better (and faster) choices for buyers.

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