Existing-Home Sales Up but Constrained
Existing-home sales rose in April but remain below underlying demand because of limited inventory and tight credit, according to the National Association of Realtors. All regions are showing strong price gains from a year ago.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town-homes, condominiums and co-ops, increase 0.6 percent in April. Resale activity is 9.7 percent above April 2012.
Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 18 percent of April sales, down from 21 percent in March and 28 percent in April 2012. Eleven percent of April sales were foreclosures, and 7 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in April, while short sales were discounted 14 percent.
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.45 percent in April from 3.57 percent in March; it was 3.91 percent in April 2012.
The median time on market for all homes was 46 days in April, down sharply from 62 days in March, and 45 percent faster than the 83 days on market in April 2012.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 640,000 in April and are 4.9 percent above April 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $245,100, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 3.4 percent in April to a pace of 1.12 million but are 9.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,300, up 6.7 percent from April 2012.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 2.0 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in April and are 14.9 percent above 2012. The median price in the South was $168,700, which is 10.6 percent above a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West increase 1.7 percent to a pace of 1.20 million in April and are 4.3 percent above a year ago. Given limited choices and multiple bidding, the median price in the West was $263,000, up 17.5 percent from April 2012.