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Small Setback for Existing Home Sales
Slips 0.4% Month-to-Month

Small Setback for Existing Home Sales

Existing home inventories rose 1.7% during April on a year-over-year basis, continuing nine months of improvement. And the National Association of Realtors noted that homes sold during the month were on the market for an average of 24 days in April, compared to 36 days in March and 26 days last April.

For the fifth time in the last six months, residential resales have been down from the previous month's pace - the exception being the 11.2% jump in February. Though the latest numbers pulled back less than half a percent, they represent a 4.4% decrease from the same month, April, last year. But for the year, sales are only slightly off from 2018.

Segmentally, single-family residences declined 1.1% while condo and co-op sales saw a 5.6% increase for the month. Regionally, the Northeast (-4.5%) and the South (-0.4%) posted losses, sales in the Midwest were flat, but the West experienced an uptick of 1.8%.

The Wells Fargo Economics Group stated that "Lower mortgage rates have helped stymie the sharp pullback in home sales seen last year but have clearly not reversed it. During April, total resales fell well below expectations. Still, while somewhat underwhelming, existing sales remain at a fairly solid pace.

Home prices continue to rise although with more moderation than last year according to the National Association of Realtors, which reported a 3.6% gain year-over-year compared to 5.5% registered in April 2018.

"More moderate price appreciation follows a slower pace of sales, but also reflects somewhat stronger demand for homes at lower price points," reported the Wells Fargo Economics Group. "Sales of higher priced homes appear substantially weaker, especially in markets such as California and the Northeast, which have been disproportionately impacted by the new limits on the deductibility of state and local taxes. Lower sales will weigh on Q2 residential investment, via lower realtor commissions."

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December 14, 2019, 5:36 am PDT

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