Home/Mortgages/Home Purchases Rise in April, Prices Improve for a Second Month

May 23, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Completed transactions of existing home purchases rebounded in April following losses in three of the previous four months, while home prices shot up by over eight percent from March according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Monthly existing home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, climbed to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.62 million in April, up from a revised 4.47 million in March, a gain of 3.4 percent. Compared to April of last year, sales were 10.0 percent higher than the 4.20 million seasonally adjusted transactions. It was the tenth consecutive month that year-over-year home sales have increased.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR, stated, “It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices. The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas it has become a seller’s market.”

Regional Home Sales:

Monthly existing home sales in the Northeast increased 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 sales and were 19.2 percent higher than in April of last year, while in the Midwest, sales edged up one percent from the previous month, selling at a rate of 1.03 million annual sales, and were 14.4 percent higher than last year’s sales pace.

In the South, monthly existing home sales increased 3.5 percent in April at an annual pace of 1.79 million transactions and were 6.5 percent above April 2011’s levels, and in the West, transactions for the month improved by 7.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million sales and were 7.3 percent higher than last year’s sales pace.

Home Prices:

Monthly home prices increased 8.3 percent as the national median existing home price increased from $163,800 in March to $177,400 in April. The median home price in April of last year was $163,700.

The median price in the Northeast was $256,600, which was 8.8 percent higher than a year ago, while the median price in the Midwest was $141,400, up 7.4 percent from April 2011.

In the South, the median price was $153,400, a gain of 8.0 percent from a year ago and in the West the median price was $221,700, up 15.9 percent from April of 2011.

Cash and Distressed Property Sales:

Distressed property sales accounted for 28 percent of all existing home sales in April, down from 29 percent in March and down from 37 percent in April of 2011. Foreclosure sales made up 17 percent of all existing home sales while short sales accounted for 11 percent of all existing sales.

Cash sales accounted for 29 percent of all sales in April, down from 32 percent in March, while investors jumped in and purchased 20 percent of the homes sold in April, down from 21 percent in March.

Housing Inventory:

The number of homes available for sale in April increased 9.5 percent to 2.54 million homes which represents a 6.6 month supply, up from a 6.2 months supply in March.

Tags: existing home sales, investors, distressed property sales, declining prices, low appraisals, cancelled contracts, median home price