Morning Briefing: Existing home sales higher in April

by MPA23 May 2016
Existing home sales higher in April
Sales of existing homes increased for the second straight month in April despite the challenges of tight inventory and high prices. The National Association of Realtors’ latest figures show a surge in the Midwest and a moderate increase Northeast while the West and South saw declines.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales was up 1.7 per cent to 5.45 million. That includes single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops. The two months of increases mean sales were up 6 per cent from April 2015.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun commented: "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."

The median existing home price rose 6.3 per cent in April to $232,500, the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Time to close mortgage steady, purchase apps higher
The latest mortgage origination report from software provider Ellie Mae shows a rise in closed loans for purchases in April to 59 per cent, from 55 per cent in March. Closing rates for all loans were down to 69 per cent from 71 per cent in March.

The firm’s data also shows that the time to close all mortgage loans remained steady at 44 days with the average time to close a purchase loan also steady at 45 days. Closing a refinance loan increased to 44 days in April (from 41 in March); FHA loans took 45 days on average (up from 44) and VA’s took an average of 48 days to close, the same as in March.

Ellie Mae’s new FICO distribution charts showed that 68 per cent of purchases and 69 per cent of refinances had FICO scores of 700 or above; 31 per cent of purchases and 26 per cent of refinances had FICO scores between 600–699. 
South Georgia sales up by a third to hit new April record
Realtors in the South Georgia region reported a 34.8 per cent year-over-year rise in home sales in April. There were 372 units sold through the MLS of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of Realtors, a record high for the month and the first time sales had ever been above 350 in April.

“It’s amazing to think back a year and remember how we thought 2015 was a really strong year for sales in the region, and it actually was a record year, but now here we are in 2016 and activity is somehow running another 25 per cent above that, so it really is unprecedented,” said Kevin Woolham, President of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.  He expects more strong sales growth in the months ahead.

Average sale price of homes in the area were up 9.9 per cent year-over-year to $339,322. Overall supply of homes remains at the lowest level for more than a decade with a 30.9 per cent drop to 1,033 active listings at the end of April 2016 compared to a year earlier.