Existing Home Sales Tumble In South, West Regions; Condo Sales Soar

https://s16-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=https%3A%2F%2Fi.vimeocdn.com%2Fvideo%2F438107344_640.jpg&sp=a00e9641c782b6db04cb614058992eb6Single-family existing home sales rose just 0.6% MoM in April with The South and The West regions seeing notable declines in sales (down 2.7% and down 1.7% respectively). What saved the headline print was a 10.3% surge in Condo sales – among the best monthly spikes since the crisis helped by a spike in sales in The Midwest – where prices are most affordable.

Condos saved the day:

While supply of single-family homes is rising, the demand was again all on condos:

The median price of existing homes:

Single-family home sales inched forward 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million in April from 4.78 million in March, and are now 6.2 percent higher than the 4.53 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,700 in April, up 6.2 percent from April 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales jumped 10.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in April from 580,000 in March, and are now 4.9 percent above April 2015 (610,000 units). The median existing condo price was $223,300 in April, which is 6.8 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says April’s sales increase signals slowly building momentum for the housing market this spring.

“Primarily driven by a convincing jump in the Midwest, where home prices are most affordable, sales activity overall was at a healthy pace last month as very low mortgage rates and modest seasonal inventory gains encouraged more households to search for and close on a home,” he said.

“Except for in the West — where supply shortages and stark price growth are hampering buyers the most — sales are meaningfully higher than a year ago in much of the country.”

Regionally, the story is very mixed…

  • April existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 740,000, and are now 17.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $263,600, which is 4.1 percent above April 2015.
  • In the Midwest, existing-home sales soared 12.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.39 million in April, and are now 12.1 percent above April 2015. The median price in the Midwest was $184,200, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Existing-home sales in the South declined 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.19 million in April, but are still 4.3 percent above April 2015. The median price in the South was $202,800, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Existing-home sales in the West decreased 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.13 million in April, and are 3.4 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the West was $335,000, which is 6.5 percent above April 2015.

The West is exhibiting a notable trend with low-end sales plunging and higher-end rising…

Which price buckets saw the most transactions:

And Y/Y transactions by bucket:

The NAR’s chief economy Larry Yun warns again:

“The temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there’s growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don’t rise and price growth doesn’t slow.”

Finally, it is worth noting that since the data was better than expected, there was no scapegoating of “weather” this time.

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