Sales dip, prices reach new record in April
Active listings, time on the market increase as all-important home-buying season starts
Fewer buyers and more homes on the market caused home sales to tumble in April, creating a more “balanced housing market” entering the spring home-buying season.
April sales dipped 0.1% compared to March and were off 4.8% from a year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors. Sales dropped to an annualized rate of 396,760 homes — basically how many transactions over a one-year period based on April sales.
‘A more balanced housing market’
Despite fewer buyers and lower sales, home prices reached another record in April at $602,920, a 6.5% increase compared to March and up 3.2% from a year ago.
“Weak buyer demand, largely prompted by elevated home prices, is playing a role in the softening housing market,” says CAR president Jared Martin. “However, with low interest rates, cooling competition and an increase in homes to choose from, buyers can take advantage of a more balanced housing market.”
Perhaps, but many home shoppers are already priced out of or worried about purchasing at the top of the market. Cautious consumers embracing a wait-and-see approach could hurt the all-important spring home-buying season, but with an abundance of homes and lower mortgage rates, real estate officials say it’s too early to wave the white flag.
“While we started off the spring home-buying season on a down note, home sales in the upcoming months may fare better than the top-level numbers suggest,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist for CAR. “The year-over-year sales decrease was the smallest in nine months, and pending home sales increased for the second straight month after declining for more than two years. While we don’t expect a sharp sales rebound, we also don’t expect an acceleration in declines.”
Home prices, sales compared to a year ago
$1.63 million, down 1.1%; sales up 16.1%
$649,000, up 2.2%; sales up 2.4%
$544,170, up 3.0%; sales down 0.1%
$385,000, up 4.3%; sales down 6.8%
Active listings increased 10.8% in April compared to a year ago, but the gains in listings have definitely slowed in recent months.
Those listings would take about 3.4 months to sell, compared to 3.2 months in April 2018.
Time on the market
The average home on the market sold in 21 days in April vs. 15 days a year ago.