Shortages cut into sales of existing US homes in April

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the third straight month in April as the number of properties for sale hit a record low, driving prices to new highs.

Existing home sales fell 2.7% last month from March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.85 million annualized units, the National Association of Realtors said today. Sales jumped 33.9% from April last year, when the pandemic caused sales to slow sharply.

The pace of sales in April was the slowest since last June and well below the 6.01 million homes economists expected, according to FactSet.

The U.S. median home price surged 19.1% from a year earlier to $341,600, an all-time high. At the end of April, the inventory of unsold homes stood at just 1.16 million, a slight improvement from March. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.4-month supply, versus a 4-month supply a year earlier, the NAR said.

“Even with home sales declining modestly, one can describe the market as being hot,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “All indications is that buyer demand remains strong.”

Would-be homebuyers across the U.S. are facing perhaps the most competitive market in decades, with homes typically receiving multiple offers. Half of the homes on the market are selling for more than the list price, Yun said.