Existing home sales receded in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS. All four major U.S. regions posted month-over-month declines. Year-over-year, sales decreased in the Northeast, Midwest, and South but increased in the West.

Total existing-home sales1 – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops – slid 1.9% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.14 million in April. Year-over-year, sales fell 1.9% (down from 4.22 million in April 2023).

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

Total housing inventory2 registered at the end of April was 1.21 million units, up 9% from March and 16.3% from one year ago (1.04 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.2 months in March and 3.0 months in April 2023. For homes priced $1 million or more, inventory and sales increased by 34% and 40%, respectively, from a year ago.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in April was $407,600, an increase of 5.7% from the previous year ($385,800). All four U.S. regions registered price gains.

“Home prices reaching a record high for April is very good news for homeowners,” Yun added. “However, the pace of price increases should taper off since more housing inventory is becoming available.”

According to the monthly REALTORS Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 26 days in April, down from 33 days in March but up from 22 days in April 2023.

First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in April, up from 32% in March and 29% in April 2023. NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 20234 – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 32%.

All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions in April, identical to March and one year ago.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in April, up from 15% in March but down from 17% in April 2023.

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in April, virtually unchanged from last month and the prior year.

Mortgage Rates

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage(link is external) averaged 7.02% as of May 16. That’s down from 7.09% the previous week but up from 6.39% one year ago.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.74 million in April, down 2.1% from 3.82 million in March and 1.3% from the prior year. The median existing single-family home price was $412,100 in April, up 5.6% from April 2023.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 400,000 units in April, existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged from last month and down 7% from one year ago (430,000 units). The median existing condo price was $365,300 in April, up 5.4% from the previous year ($346,700).

Regional Breakdown

Existing home sales in the Northeast waned 4% from March to an annual rate of 480,000 in April, a decline of 4% from April 2023. The median price in the Northeast was $458,500, up 8.5% from the previous year.

In the Midwest, existing home sales slipped 1% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1 million in April, down 1% from one year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $303,600, up 6% from April 2023.

Existing home sales in the South descended 1.6% from March to an annual rate of 1.9 million in April, down 3.1% from the prior year. The median price in the South was $366,200, up 3.7% from last year.

In the West, existing home sales retracted 2.6% from a month ago to an annual rate of 760,000 in April, an increase of 1.3% from one year before. The median price in the West was $629,600, up 9.3% from April 2023.

Methodology

1 Existing home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR benchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when the monthly collection of condo data began. Before this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales before 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (before 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions, and condos were measured only quarterly).

3 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s REALTORS® Confidence Index, which includes all types of buyers. The annual study only represents primary residence purchases and does not include investor and vacation home buyers. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on the market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions, and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s REALTORS® Confidence Index, posted at nar. realtor.

Source: NAR