NEW YORK (MainStreet) – This spring has been a great time to sell a home, but not such a fine season for buyers.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales dropped 3.3% from March to April, but April sales were still 6.1% higher than they were a year before. Unsold inventory was actually 1% less than it was a year ago, though, with a 5.3-month supply of homes still lagging behind the ideal housing supply of little more than six months. The median price of existing homes of all types in April was $219,400, which is 8.9% higher than it was a year before. Housing prices have been increasing for more than three years, but the jump in prices in April was the highest since a 10.1% uptick in January 2014.
”We know that a combination of low supply and high demand increases prices,” says Curt VanderZanden, a loan officer with Mortgage Express in Portland, Ore. “That, of course, is just one reason values in all states rose at a healthy pace last year.”
In this climate, 2.2 million existing homes just aren't enough. Houses sold faster in April (at an average of 39 days after listing) than at any time since July 2013 (42 days) and the second shortest time (37 days in June 2013) since NAR began tracking in May 2011.
"Housing inventory declined from last year, and supply in many markets is very tight, which in turn is leading to bidding wars, faster price growth and properties selling at a quicker pace," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. "To put it in perspective, roughly 40% of properties sold [in April] went at or above asking price, the highest since NAR began tracking this monthly data in December 2012."