Existing Home Sales - June Report
Home Sales Pace
Sales of existing U.S. homes rose in April, but only slightly, being held back by heightened mortgage lending standards and a continued inventory shortage, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total sales grew 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, up from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in March. Compared with April 2012, sales were up 9.7 percent.
"The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory. Without these frictions, existing-home sales easily would be well above the 5-million unit pace," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Buyer traffic is 31 percent stronger than a year ago, but sales are running only about 10 percent higher. It's become quite clear that the only way to tame price growth to a manageable, healthy pace is higher levels of new home construction."
Prices rose though as a result of restricted lending and inventory. The national median existing-home price increased to $192,800, up from a downwardly revised $183,900 in March and up 11.0 percent from the year before. Prices have risen on a yearly basis for 14 straight months.
The NAR defines existing homes as all previously-owned single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and co-ops. The group "seasonally adjusts" the sales numbers to factor in things like inclement weather, school sessions, winter holidays, etc to smooth out the trends.
The NAR also describes its sales data based on an annual pace. The monthly figure represents the total number of housing units that would be sold in one year if the current rate were to continue unchanged.
Sales Pace by Region
Sales posted gains in every region of the country on a yearly basis in April and in all but the Midwest on a monthly basis.
In the Northeast, sales increased 1.6 percent to an annual pace of 640,000 from 630,000 in March. Compared to the year before, sales there rose 4.9 percent.
Sales in the Midwest fell 3.4 percent in April to an annual rate of 1.12 million from 1.16 million the previous month, but rose 9.8 percent from April 2012.
The South saw sales grow 2.0 percent to an annual pace of 2.01 million, up from March's 1.97 million and up 14.9 percent from one year earlier.
In the West, home sales stepped up 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million from 1.18 million in March and up 4.3 percent April 2012 figures.
Sales Price by Region
Median prices rose in all parts of the U.S. in April, led by a 17.5 percent yearly jump in the West.
The Northwest's median price increased to $245,100 from $237,100 in March. The price was also up 5.1 percent from Apri 2012.
In the Midwest, the median home price jumped up to $149,300 in April from $141,300 the month before and rose 6.7 percent from the previous year.
The South experienced an increase to $168,700 up from $162,100 in March and up 10.6 percent from a year ago.
The West saw its median price rise to $263,600 in April from $256,900 the month earlier and skyrocketing up 17.5 percent from April 2012.
Inventory rose in April as buyers gained more equity and confidence in the housing market. The number of homes on the market jumped 11.9 percent to 2.16 million units. At the current sales pace, that represents a 5.2-month supply, up from a 4.7-month supply in March. Total inventory is down 13.6 percent from last year when there was a 6.6-month supply. The NAR considers a 6-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
Data for April existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of June.