Archive for May 22nd, 2013

Existing-home sales highest since 2009

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Existing-home sales rose in April to hit the highest rate since November 2009, pointing to an ongoing recovery supported by low interest rates and pent-up demand, according to data released Wednesday.

Existing-home sales rose 0.6% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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A sale-pending sign is posted in front of a home on March 27, 2013 in San Anselmo, California.

Sales of existing homes in April were 9.7% higher than during the same period in the prior year.

Pent-up demand is supporting sales, but tight credit standards and inventories are holding back gains, NAR said. There are also headwinds remain from high unemployment, though the economy is adding jobs.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the pace of existing-home sales to hit a rate of 5 million in April, compared with a prior estimate of a 4.92 million rate in March.

On Wednesday, NAR revised March’s rate to 4.94 million.

Meanwhile, median prices hit $192,800 in April, the highest since 2008, up 11% from the same period in the prior year, with low inventory supporting prices.

Inventories rose 11.9% in April to 2.16 million existing homes for sale. April tends to have the highest inventories of the year. The supply rose to 5.2 months in April from 4.7 months in March.

Distressed property sales fell to 18% of all transactions in April, the lowest since data collection began in 2008.

“We anticipate that this will continue to fall based on the pipeline of distressed mortgages,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

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