With economic lockdowns temporarily disrupting home sales, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing another steep drop in U.S. existing home sales in the month of April.
NAR said existing home sales plunged by 17.8 percent to an annual rate of 4.33 million in April after tumbling by 8.5 percent to 5.27 million in March. Economists had expected existing home sales to plummet to a rate of 4.30 million.
The continued nosedive pulled existing home sales down to their lowest level since hitting 3.45 million in July of 2010.
“The economic lockdowns – occurring from mid-March through April in most states – have temporarily disrupted home sales,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices.”
The report said the median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $286,800, up 2.2 percent from $280,700 in March and up 7.4 percent from $267,000 in April of 2019.
NAR said there were 1.47 million homes for sale at the end of April, down 1.3 percent from 1.49 million at the end of March and down 19.7 percent from 1.83 million a year ago.
The unsold inventory represents 4.1 months of supply at the current sales rate compared to 3.4 months of supply in March and 4.2 months of supply in April of 2019.
“Record-low mortgage rates are likely to remain in place for the rest of the year, and will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen,” Yun said. “Still, more listings and increased home construction will be needed to tame price growth.”
The report also said single-family home sales slumped by 16.9 percent to a rate of 3.94 million in April, while existing condominium and co-op sales plunged by 26.4 percent to 390,000.
Next Tuesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of April. New home sales are expected to plummet by about 17.0 percent.