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NAR Report: Why April is the Month for Existing-Home Sales

by Peter Thomas Ricci

After falling the first three months of the year, existing-home sales reversed course in April, according to NAR.

Early Thursday morning, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that in April, and for the first time this year, existing-home sales were up. Rising by 1.3 percent from March to April, increased enthusiasm from consumers has been working to drive up the seasonally adjusted annual rate, now at 4.65 million. However, despite these recent gains, overall existing-home sales numbers are still struggling to keep up with the pace set in 2013. Last April, sales were up 6.8 precent.

Housing Inventory Makes a Big Jump

While the big story of NAR’s release was April’s gains in existing-home sales, the association’s report provided several other valuable insights. For instance:

  • At April’s end, total housing inventory made a dramatic leap, rising 16.9 percent and bringing total available homes to 2.29 million.
  • Beating last year’s figure by more than 5 percent, April’s medium existing-home price reached $201, 700.
  • Short sales for April were on the market for a median of 96 days, making up 5 percent of total sales.
  • First-time buyers represented 29 percent of the market in April, down one percent from March but level with April 2013 figures.

Does a Good April Mean a Better Year?

Considering the lackluster performance of existing-home sales throughout the beginning of 2014, many agree a bountiful April was to be expected. Still, some believe these gains might mark the beginning of a more longitudinal shift towards stability.

 “Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, “but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point.”

NAR President Steve Brown mirrored Yun’s sentiment, adding: “More housing inventory gives buyers better choices, and takes the pressure off of the buying process, which is a welcome sign, especially for first-time buyers.”

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