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Home Sales, Inventory and Time on Market Increase

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For the first time this year, existing home sale were higher. Also rising were sales prices and housing inventory.

Existing home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million in April. The rate reflects completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-operatives.

That was a 1.3 percent improvement over the 4.59 million rate in March and the first increase this year.

Historical data from the National Association of Realtors, which reported last month’s data on Thursday, indicate that the rate was 4.99 million in April 2013.

“Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in the report. “Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.”

The Washington, D.C.-based trade group said that the total housing inventory finished last month at 2.29 million, surging 16.8 percent from March.

NAR previously reported an inventory of 2.16 million existing homes available for sale in the same month during 2013, ,

April 2014’s inventory put the supply at 5.9 months, increasing from 5.1 months a month earlier and 5.2 months a year earlier.

The median price of existing home sales was $201,700, rising from $198,500 in March. In April 2013, the median home price was $192,800.

“We’ll continue to see a balancing act between housing inventory and price growth, which remains stronger than normal simply because there have not been enough sellers in many areas,” Yun explained.

Median time on the market for all homes fell for the fourth consecutive month to 48 days from 55 days, reflecting the prolonged lag in inventory relative to demand.

But time on the market increased from a year prior, when the number of days was 43.

All-cash transactions accounted for nearly a third of April sales, not much different than a month earlier and a year earlier.

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