Existing home sales moderated in April after surging in March, as the four major U.S. regions posted declines, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said. The big gain last month was revised down only slightly from 11.8% to 11.2%.
The Midwest saw the largest decline last month, down 7.9% from last month to an annual rate of 1.17 million. That’s 8.6% below March 2018 levels.
|Existing Home Sales – Level – SAAR||5.510 M||5.480 M||5.300 M||5.200 M – 5.410 M||5.210 M|
|Existing Home Sales – M/M||11.8%||11.2%||-4.9%|
|Existing Home Sales – Y/Y||-1.8%||-5.4%|
“It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized.”
The median existing home price for all housing types in March was $259,400, an increase of 3.8% from March 2018, when it was $249,800. The latest price increase marks the 85th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory rose to 1.68 million, up from 1.63 million in February and a 2.4% increase from 1.64 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.6 months in February and up from 3.6 months in March 2018.
“Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check,” Mr. Yun added. “The sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”
The median price in the Midwest rose 4.6% from last year to $200,500.
March existing home sales in the Northeast fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 670,000, 1.5% below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was up 2.5% to $277,500 from March 2018.
Existing home sales in the South were down 3.4% to an annual rate of 2.28 million in March, a 2.1% drop from last year. The median price in the South was $227,400, up 2.4% year-over-year.
Existing home sales in the West fell 6.0% to an annual rate of 1.09 million in March, which is 10.7% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $389,300, up 3.1% from March 2018.