NEWS: Spring Home Sales ‘Back on Pace’ as Price Increases Moderate

MBA NewsLink Staff

May 20, 2019

RE/MAX, Denver, said April home sales finished just 1% below from a year ago as selling times shortened and tight inventory held steady.

The April National Housing Report also noted April’s median home price of $255,000 in the report’s 54 markets represented just a 3.6% increase, the smallest year-over-year April increase in eight years.

The report said the April year-over-year sales decline of 1% marked the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases, but April’s sales dip was the smallest during that time. At the same time, inventory increased by 0.8%, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year growth in number of homes for sale.

RE/MAX said compared to March, home sales in April sped up by a full week, taking an average of 52 days instead of 59. A year ago, the average was 51 days. The months’ supply of inventory in April dropped year-over-year from 3.0 to 2.6.

“April’s home sales blossomed, suggesting the typical seasonal jump in spring sales arrived later than usual this year,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Solid buyer interest and sellers with realistic price expectations advanced the market’s march toward equilibrium last month. That said, inventory remains constricted, and prices continue to climb, albeit at a slower rate. All in all, April’s results were encouraging, and we continue to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a healthy spring selling season.”

The report said of 54 metro areas surveyed in April, month-over-month sales percentage increase were led by Augusta, Maine, at 30.4%, Des Moines, Iowa, 23.6% and Milwaukee, 22.9%.

Meanwhile, Redfin, Seattle, said home-sale prices edged up 2.8 percent year over year to a median of $307,600 in April, a rebound from March’s slight annual price decline and a return to a more sustainable level of price growth than the 7 to 9 percent home price increases seen early last year.

Only five of the 85 largest metro areas Redfin tracks saw a year-over-year decline in their median sale price, the biggest of which were a 5.0 percent drop in San Jose, a 1.8 percent dip in New Haven, Conn., and a 1.3 percent decline in Seattle. The other two price declines were in San Francisco and Portland, Ore. both of which saw prices fall just 0.1 percent from a year earlier.

“Homebuyers should take April’s home-price rebound as a cue that the cooldown may be coming to an end,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “The good news is that even though home prices are rising again, mortgage rates remain below last year’s levels and are unlikely to tick back up in a meaningful way this year. While buyers no longer need to feel as much urgency about locking in a low rate before they go back up, buyers who wait too long may face more competition and see home prices rise as a result.”

Redfin said home sales, while essentially flat nationwide (-0.6%), were down from a year ago in about half of metro areas it tracks.

The report said the number of homes for sale as of the end of April was up 3.1 percent since last year, the smallest annual increase in home supply in seven months. The number of homes newly listed for sale last month increased 0.7 percent year over year, following two straight months of declines.

And Redfin noted although the median number of days on market for homes sold in April fell to 40, the same pace as last April at the beginning of the 2018 spring market frenzy, other measures indicate that the market is cooler than a year ago. In April, 23.7 percent of homes for sale had a price drop, up from 21 percent last year, and 22.4 percent of homes sold for above list price, down from 26.8 percent last year.

The report can be found at https://www.redfin.com/blog/april-2019-housing-market-tracker.

https://www.mba.org/mba-newslinks/2019/may/mba-newslink-monday-5-20-19/residential/spring-home-sales-back-on-pace-as-price-increases-moderate

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