Existing-home sales dip in April — but rising inventory lifts high-end

Inman News

Homes at the higher end of the market — priced at $1M or more — enjoyed the spoils with inventory and sales rising by double digits from a year ago, according to data released Wednesday by NAR

Existing-home sales dipped during one of the busiest homebuying months of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

Existing-home sales fell 1.9 percent annually in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.14 million, according to data released Wednesday. Sales fell 1.9 percent from the previous month as well, according to NAR data.

Inventory rose to 1.21 million units, a 9 percent increase from March and a 16.3 percent increase from year ago, according to the data. Homes at the higher end of the market — priced $1 million or more — accounted for most of the increase, with inventory and sales rising by 34 percent and 40 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

“Home sales changed little overall, but the upper-end market is experiencing a sizable gain due to more supply coming onto the market,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.

Home sales remained low as mortgage rates sat near or above 7 percent for much of April, according to Freddie Mac data.

“High mortgage rates are taking a bite out of home sales,” said Holden Lewis, a home and mortgage expert at the personal finance website NerdWallet. “People are eager to buy homes, but a lot of potential buyers are waiting for mortgage rates to fall below 7 percent. Meanwhile, the median home price increased because demand is outpacing supply, especially for higher-priced homes. This is an indication that well-off buyers are making offers, probably with the assumption that they’ll have an opportunity to refinance within a few years.”

While sales stagnated, home prices continued to grow, with the median existing-home price hitting $407,600, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year and a record high for April, though Yun predicted that prices would cool as more inventory comes on the market.

“Home prices reaching a record high for the month of April is very good news for homeowners,” Yun said. “However, the pace of price increases should taper off since more housing inventory is becoming available. ”Home sales fell on a monthly and annual basis in every major U.S. region, except in the West where sales increased 1.3 percent annually to an annual rate of 760,000 — a 2.6 percent decrease from the month before.