Existing-home sales hit decade low

by Ryan Smith22 May 2020

Existing-home sales hit their lowest level in nearly a decade in April, continuing a two-month tumble in sales driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Each of the four major US regions posted a decline in both month-over-month and year-over-year sales, with the West posting the largest drop in both categories, NAR reported.

Total existing-home sales – which include completed transactions on single-family homes, townhomes and co-ops – tumbled 17.8% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million, the largest month-over-month drop since July 2010. April also marked the lowest level of total sales since July 2010.

“The economic lockdowns – occurring from mid-March through April in most states – have temporarily disrupted home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices.”

The median existing-home price in April was $286,800, up 7.4% year over year, according to NAR. April’s increase marks 98 straight months of year-over-year price gains.

“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.”