Homebuyers Have More Properties to Choose From in April

Existing-home sales rose in April 2014 as more sellers put their homes on the market, giving buyers across the U.S. more options.

Homebuyers had more properties to choose from in April, as the inventory of existing homes increased nationally. As more properties were put up for sale, the speed at which home prices were rising slowed a bit, according to data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The median U.S. existing-home price hit $201,700 in April, up 5.2% from April 2013. The number of existing homes that sold, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.3% in April.

“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,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.”

Home shoppers had 2.29 million existing homes to choose from in April. That’s 16.8% more homes than were on the market in March. At the current pace homes are selling, it will take 5.9 months to sell all the homes on the market. A six-month supply of homes for sale is considered a balanced market that favors neither sellers nor buyers.

“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. More inventory and increased new-home construction will help to foster healthy market conditions,” Yun added.

Median Existing-Home Price

The median existing-home price for single-family homes, condos and co-ops in April was $201,700. But the speed at which home prices were rising in the first quarter will likely decrease during the rest of this year. “Current price data suggests a trend of slower growth, which bodes well for preserving favorable affordability conditions in much of the country,” Yun said.

NAR President Steve Brown said there’s plenty of heat left in the real estate market. “The typical time on market shrunk in April, with four out of 10 homes selling in less than a month,” he said. “Homes that show well and are properly priced tend to sell the fastest. More housing inventory gives buyers better choices, and takes the pressure off of the buying process, which is a welcome sign, especially for first-time buyers.”

The median time on market for all homes was 48 days in April, down from 55 days in March. In April 2013, homes took a median of 43 days to sell.

About one-third of the deals in April were all-cash sales, where the buyer didn’t need a mortgage. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 18% of homes in April. Homeowners who downsize to a less expensive property and those who sell a home with no mortgage and buy another are two other groups who sometimes pay cash for their homes.

Other data from the NAR April report:

 Median Price April 2014Price Change from April 2013Change in # of Sales from March 2014

Single-family home

$201,100Up 4.7%Up 0.5%
Condo and co-ops$205,500Up 8.3%Up 7.3%
Northeast$244,000Down 0.4%No change
Midwest$157,200Up 5.8%Down 1.0%
South$173,200Up 3.2%Up 1.0%
West$291,200Up 9.7%Up 4.9%