The volume of U.S. home sales rose again in April to an annualized rate of 5.7 million units, up 7.6 percent compared with nearly 5.4 million units in March and up nearly 23 percent compared with a depressed pace of 4.7 million units in April 2009.
These figures come from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and are adjusted to account for seasonal patterns in home sales. The total counts only completed sales and includes detached houses, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) group attributed the stronger pace of sales to the federal home buyer tax credit, which ended April 30, improved consumer confidence and lower home prices and interest rates. The last two are collectively referred to as “affordability conditions.”
A temporary “fallback” is expected to follow April’s strong results due to the expiration of the tax credit. However, low mortgage interest rates, home price stability and confidence may help to mitigate that effect.
Buyers and sellers may want to watch the inventory of for-sale homes for clues as to how severe the fallback might be. Inventory at the end of April was slightly more than 4 million existing homes for sale. That’s a supply of 8.4 months at the current pace of sales and an increase from the 8.1-month supply at the end of March. A supply of more than six months suggests buyers still have the upper hand.
Sales of detached homes rose 7.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units in April compared with a pace of 4.7 million in March. The median price was $173,400 in April, up 4.5 percent from a year ago.
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