Existing-home sales dropped for the third consecutive month in April, falling to their slowest pace since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
April’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million was down 2.4% month over month and 5.9% year over year. Downward pressures that have been building up over the last few months are taking their toll on homebuyer demand, and market data continues to reflect their growing impacts, according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
“Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity,” said Yun said. “It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years.”
Indeed, April’s annualized pace is similar to the that established during the six months leading up to the pandemic, when existing-home sales averaged a pace of 5.4 million units.
Potential homebuyers looking for softened sales to provide some inventory relief did get a slight boost to supply, with the inventory of unsold homes increasing 10.8% to 1.03 million in April. Unsold inventory now sits at a supply of 2.2 months at the current sales pace, up from 1.9 months monthly but down from 2.3 months yearly. Still, the supply of existing homes remains down 10.4% year over year.
“Housing supply has started to improve, albeit at an extremely sluggish pace,” said Yun.
“The market is quite unusual as sales are coming down, but listed homes are still selling swiftly, and home prices are much higher than a year ago.”
April’s median existing-home price was $391,200, up 14.8% annually, marking 122 consecutive months of year-over-year price growth, the longest such streak ever recorded.