Existing Home Sales Slow in April

Existing home sales declined 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.04 million, down from an upwardly revised 5.21 million in March. Existing home sales remain 6.1 percent higher than last year, despite last month’s decline.

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The median existing-home prices increased 8.9 percent year over year to $219,400, the largest gain since January 2014.

Total housing inventory increased 10 percent to 2.21 million homes available for sale, 0.9 percent lower than a year ago. There is currently a 5.3 month supply of existing homes available for sale, up from 4.6 months in March.

National Association of Realtors President Chris Polychron warned that markets could slow after Aug. 1, when lenders transition to new closing procedures required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TILA-RESPA integrated disclosure rule. “We hope that the move away from the HUD-1 is smooth, but even if 10 percent of transactions experience closing issues, that’s as many as 40,000 transactions a month.”

Existing home sales increased 1.7 percent in the Midwest, but declined in the three other regions—falling by 3.1 percent in the Northeast, 1.7 percent in the West, and 6.8 percent in the South. Despite slowing sales over the month, each region saw year-over-year gains in home prices, especially in the Midwest and West regions which rose by 11.4 percent and 10 percent respectively.

All cash sales were 24 percent of transactions, while the share of first time homebuyers was 30 percent, both the same as in March.