Existing-Home Sales Retract 2.4 Percent in April

Existing-home sales recorded a third straight month of declines, slipping slightly in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. Month-over-month sales were split amongst the four major U.S. regions, with two areas posting gains and the other two experiencing waning in April. Year-over-year sales struggled, as each of the four regions reported dips.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slid 2.4 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million in April. Year-over-year, sales dropped 5.9 percent (5.96 million in April 2021).

“Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years.”

Total housing inventory at the end of April amounted to 1,030,000 units, up 10.8 percent from March and down 10.4 percent from one year ago (1.15 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 1.9 months in March and down from 2.3 months in April 2021.

“Housing supply has started to improve, albeit at an extremely sluggish pace,” said Yun.

He also noted the rare state of the current marketplace.

“The market is quite unusual as sales are coming down, but listed homes are still selling swiftly, and home prices are much higher than a year ago,” said Yun.

“Moreover, an increasing number of buyers with short tenure expectations could opt for 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages, thereby assuring fixed payments over five years because of the rate reset,” he added. “The cash buyers, not impacted by mortgage rate changes, remain elevated.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $391,200, up 14.8 percent from April 2021 ($340,700), as prices increased in each region. This marks 122 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in April, equal to both the number of days in March 2022 and in April 2021. Eighty-eight percent of homes sold in April 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 28 percent of sales in April, down from 30 percent in March and from 31 percent in April 2021. All-cash sales accounted for 26 percent of transactions in April, down from 28 percent in March and up from the 25 percent recorded in April 2021. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in April, down from 18 percent in March and equal to 17 percent in April 2021.

Realtor.com’s Market Trends Report in April shows that the largest year-over-year median list price growth occurred in Miami (+38.3 percent), Las Vegas (+32.6 percent), and Orlando (+30.7 percent). Austin reported the highest growth in the share of homes that had their prices reduced compared to last year (+6.8 percentage points), followed by Las Vegas (+5.3 percentage points) and Sacramento (+4.7 percentage points).

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