WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in April due mainly to relatively few listings and rising prices, providing evidence of the housing sector’s uneven recovery.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of existing homes fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million. April marked the second straight month of the sales rate topping 5 million homes. Purchases have recovered from a disappointing 2014 because strong job growth and low mortgage rates have generated more would-be buyers.
But that positive sign for the economy has also exposed a problem: Not enough people are listing their properties for sale to meet the demand. Only 5.3 months’ supply of homes is on the market, versus an average of six months in a healthy market. The number of listings actually tumbled 0.9 percent in April compared to a year ago.
The tight supplies have caused properties to fly off the market and prices to rocket upward. The median home sold in just 39 days last month, versus 52 days in March and 62 days in February. Sales levels dropped in the Northeast, South and West, but they edged up 1.7 percent in the Midwest.