Sales of existing homes declined 3.3 percent in April, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday in a disappointing monthly report that highlights ongoing sluggishness in the housing sector.
Total existing home sales includes single family homes, condos and townhomes, and the broad number fell to 5.04 million homes from a revised 5.21 million homes in March. The 3.3 percent decline disappointed but sales have increased year-over-year for seven straight months and in April were 6.1 percent above 12 months prior.
“April’s setback is the result of lagging supply relative to demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices,” Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, said in the monthly report.” However, the overall data and feedback we’re hearing … continues to point ot elevated levels of buying interest compared to a year ago.”
There were also more unsold homes in April, with the unsold inventory at a 5.3 month supply, the association reported, up from 4.6 months in March.
Despite the sluggish sales numbers, prices continue their upward climb. The midpoint existing home price in April was $219,400, or 8.9 percent above the same measure in April 2014.
“Housing inventory declined from last year and supply in many markets is very tight, which in turn is leading to bidding wars, faster price growth and properties selling at a quicker pace,” Yun said.
McClatchy highlighted this trend in a story Monday that warned of potential bubbles developing in 14 states around the country and buyers facing a return to bidding frenzies in some parts of the nation.
The Realtors group said April existing home sales actually increased 1.27 percent in to annual rate of 1.22 million in the Midwest. They fell 3.1 percent in the Northeast, 6.8 percent in the South and 1.7 percent in the West.