In April, the housing market netted 5.19 million sales—a 0.4 percent dip from March and 4.4 percent lower year-over-year, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® report.
Despite the slip, gains are on the horizon, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR.
“First, we are seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with a pent-up demand to buy, so buyers will look to take advantage of these conditions,” Yun says. “Also, job creation is improving, causing wage growth to align with home price growth, which helps affordability and will help spur more home sales.”
In a continuing trend, there were improvements in inventory last month, expanding to 1.83 million—a jump from March and the prior year, when there were 1.67 million and 1.8 million homes on the market, respectively.
“We see that the inventory totals have steadily improved, and will provide more choices for those looking to buy a home,” says Yun. “When placing their home on the market, home sellers need to be very realistic and aware of the current conditions.”
Across all house types (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome), the median price was $267,300, a 3.6 percent increase year-over-year. The median price for sales in the single-family space was $269,300; the condo median was $251,000. By region:
Midwest Existing-Home Sales: 1.17 million (-7.9% YoY)
Median Price: $210,500 (+5.5% YoY)
South Existing-Home Sales: 2.27 million (-1.7% YoY)
Median Price: $236,800 (+4.4% YoY)
West Existing-Home Sales: 1.11 million (-5.9% YoY)
Median Price: $395,100 (+1.3% YoY)
Currently, inventory is at a 4.2-month supply, according to the report. In April, the average listing was on the market for 24 days, two days less than the prior year. Fifty-three percent of homes were on the market for less than one month.
“I think the market had a bit of a slow start in the fall, but REALTORS® all over the country have been telling me that April was a nice rebound,” says John Smaby, NAR president. “We’re hopeful and expect that this will continue heading into the summer. 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.”
Of April’s existing-home sales, 4.62 million were single-family—a dip from 4.67 million in March, and from 4.81 million year-over-year. Condo and co-op sales totaled 570,000, an 8.1 percent drop year-over-year. Twenty percent of sales were all-cash, and 16 percent by individual investors. Three percent were distressed. First-time homebuyers comprised 32 percent of sales.
The hottest markets, according to realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, which is included in NAR’s report, were Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.; Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.; Columbus, Ohio; and Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif.