Economic Snapshot: Existing home sales dip in April

The National Association of Realtors said low supply levels held down sales in April and also pushed the median number of days a home was on the market to a new low of 29 days.

Existing home sales

Total existing home sales dipped 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in April, from a downwardly revised 5.70 million in March.

Despite April’s decline, sales are still 1.6 percent above the previous year and the fourth highest pace over the past year.

The median existing home price for all housing types was $244,800 in April, up 6.0 percent from the previous year. April’s price increase marks the 62nd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 7.2 percent to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 9.0 percent lower than April 2016 and has fallen year over year for 23 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a supply of 4.2 months at the current sales pace, down from 4.6 months a year ago.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in April, which is down from 34 days in March and 39 days a year ago, and surpasses last May (32 days) as the shortest timeframe since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month, a new high.

First-time buyers were 34 percent of sales in April, which is up from 32 percent in March and in April 2016.

New home sales

Sales of new single-family houses were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000 in April 2017, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.4 below the revised March rate of 642,000, but is 0.5 percent above the April 2016 estimate of 566,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2017 was $309,200 and the average sales was $368,300.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 268,000. This represents a supply of 5.7 months at the current sales rate.

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