Key Highlights

  • Existing home sales plunged to -17.2% in April, the lowest level in a decade
  • This plunge follows a drop of -17.8% in March

Existing home sales continued its downward spiral of -17.8% in March to another -17.2% in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist, said, “Sales are at the worst level in about a decade. But all things considered, it really could’ve been worse. It’s not surprising given that everyone’s staying home.”

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With now close to 41M people filing for unemployment since the COVID pandemic outbreak, Hale predicts that May and June could also be extremely challenging months for the housing market. “There’s a long lag time between when buyers are out shopping and a sale actually goes through,” said Hale. “I expect another couple of months of low sales. Later in the summer, we will see home sales bounce back as we recapture some of the momentum we saw earlier in the year.”

Condominium and co-op sales were particularly hard hit with a drop of -31.1% in April compared to one year ago. Single-family home sales dropped half that to “just” -15.5%.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said, “There appears to be a shift in preference for single-family homes over condominium dwellings. This trend could be long-lasting as remote work and larger housing needs will become widely prevalent even after we emerge from this pandemic.”

Agents, buyers and sellers – Remember to factor in ALL elements of the housing market as you contemplate such awful home sales data:

  • New home sales were slightly up in April to +0.6%
  • More sellers pulled their homes off the market or simply decided against listing their home to wait for the market to improve
  • Our severe housing shortage became even more severe as sellers either pulled or withheld their listings
  • Buyers, the few there were, faced a more competitive market for fewer homes and 41% faced bidding wars
  • Median existing home prices, already up +2.2% in March, jumped up +7.4% annually to hit $286,800.

 

Thanks to realtor.com’s Clare Trapasso.

Also read: Are We There Yet – a Recession or a Depression? Does It Matter Which?, Record Declines in Home Sales & Listings in April, Podcast: How Long Will The Real Estate Recovery Last? | Tim and Julie Harris


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