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NAR: Existing-Home Sales Decreased to 4.28 million SAAR in April; Median Prices Declined 1.7% YoY
Record Low for Not Seasonally Adjusted Sales in April
From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Faded 3.4% in April
Existing-home sales decreased in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All four major U.S. regions registered month-over-month and year-over-year sales declines.
Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – slid 3.4% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.28 million in April. Year-over-year, sales slumped 23.2% (down from 5.57 million in April 2022).
Total housing inventory registered at the end of April was 1.04 million units, up 7.2% from March and 1.0% from one year ago (1.03 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 2.6 months in March and 2.2 months in April 2022.
The sales rate was slightly below the consensus forecast.
This graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993. Sales in April (4.28 million SAAR) were down 3.4% from the previous month and were 23.2% below the April 2022 sales rate.
Sales Year-over-Year and Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA)
The second graph shows existing home sales by month for 2022 and 2023.
Sales declined 23.2% year-over-year compared to April 2022. This was the twentieth consecutive month with sales down year-over-year.
The third graph shows existing home sales for each month, Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA), for a few selected periods. Black and light Purple are the maximum sales per month during the bubble (2005) and the minimum sales during the bust (2008 - 2011). The most recent five years are shown (2019 through 2023).
Sales NSA in April (336,000) were 27.4% below sales in April 2022 (463,000). On an NSA basis for the month of April, sales were 3.7% below the previous record low during the housing bust (349,000 in April 2009).
This decrease in sales, NSA, was similar to change in the markets I track each month.
Housing Inventory Increased in April
The fourth graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.
According to the NAR, inventory increased to 1.04 million in April from 0.97 million in March.
Headline inventory is not seasonally adjusted, and inventory usually decreases to the seasonal lows in December and January, and peaks in mid-to-late summer. The fifth graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in reported existing home inventory and months-of-supply. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, it really helps to look at the YoY change. Note: Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory.
Inventory was up 1.0% year-over-year (blue) in April compared to April 2022. Months of supply (red) increased to 2.9 months in April from 2.6 months in March.
Median House Prices Declined 1.7% Year-over-Year
On prices, the NAR reported:
The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $388,800, a decline of 1.7% from April 2022 ($395,500). Prices rose in the Northeast and Midwest but retreated in the South and West.
Median prices are distorted by the mix (repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller and FHFA are probably better for measuring prices).
The YoY change in the median price peaked at 25.2% in May 2021 and prices are now down 1.7% YoY. Median house prices increased 3.6% from March to April and have declined 6.0% from the peak in June 2022 (NSA).
It is likely the Case-Shiller index will be down soon year-over-year.
Note that closed sales in April were mostly for contracts signed in February and March. Mortgage rates, according to the Freddie Mac PMMS, average around 6.4% in February and March. May sales will be for contracts signed in March and April, when mortgage rates also averaged around 6.4%, so sales will likely be similar in May compared to April.
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