Due to the coronavirus pandemic, existing-home sales fell 17.8% in April compared with March and were down 17.2% compared with April 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors.
That’s the lowest annual rate since July 2010, when existing-home sales were at a rate of 3.45 million.
It’s also the largest month-over-month drop since July 2010, when the annual rate plummeted 22.5%.
Regionally, and month-over-month, sales decreased in all four major regions. Sales fell 16.9% in the Northeast, 12.0% in the Midwest, 17.9% in the South, and 25.0% in the West.
“The economic lockdowns – occurring from mid-March through April in most states – have temporarily disrupted home sales,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices.”
The lack of inventory continued to drive up home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $286,800, up 7.4% from $267,000 in April 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 says. “Still, more listings and increased home construction will be needed to tame price growth.”
Total housing inventory as of the end of April totaled 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from March, and down 19.7% from one year ago.
That’s a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.
First-time buyers were responsible for 36% of sales in April, up from 34% in March.