Existing home sales dropped -0.4% in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.19M and -4.4% below April 2018. (Guess the lower mortgage interest rates didn’t much matter to home sales, right?) The good news, however, is that the total number of houses available for sale rose +1.7%.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, was upbeat about April’s results, “First, we are seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with pent-up demand to buy, so buyers will look to take advantage of these conditions. Also, job creation is improving, causing wage growth to align with home price growth, which helps affordability and will help spur more home sales.”

The median existing home price for all housing types increased +3.7% from last April 2018 to $267,300 for the 86th straight month of y/y gains. The median existing condo/co-op price came in at $251,000, an increase of +3.4% from April 2018.

Regionally, existing home sales looked like this in April 2019:

  • Northeast
    • Median price of $277,700, +0.9% over last year
    • Sales -4.5% from last month and -4.5% from last year
  • Midwest
    • Median price of $210500, +5.5% over last year
    • Sales held steady from last month, -7.9% from April 2018

–   South

  • Median price of $236,800, +4.4% over last year
  • Sales -0.4% from last month and-1.7% from last year
  • West
    • Median price of $395,100, +1.3% over last year
    • Sales +1.8% from last month, -5.9% from April 2018

Unsold inventory in April 2019 stood at a 4.2 month supply, up from a supply of 3.8 months in March 2019 and up from 4 months in April 2018.

The average days on the market (DOM) in April 2019 were 24 days, down from 36 days in March 2019 and down from 26 days in April 2018. 53% of homes stayed on the market for less than one month.

John Smaby, NAR’s president, said, “Homes over the last month sold quickly, which is not only a win-win for buyers and sellers, but it’s also great for the real estate industry.

Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), agreed. He said, “We view it as a positive that inventories continue to increase although supply on the market remains relatively tight and the pace of home-price increases continues to decelerate.”  Yun commented that sellers need to be aware of current market conditions and be realistic when determining their prices.

Fratantoni continued. “The strong job market and lower mortgage rates (4.14% in April) should continue to support the potential for more home sales this year.”

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