-Portland Business Journal
Sales of existing houses unexpectedly fell in April, providing the latest bit of confusing data about the health of the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors reports sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops dropped 3.3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million. The good news is that’s the second month in a row that the sales pace topped 5 million. Plus it’s 6 percent higher than it was a year ago.
Economists, however, expected sales to be higher. This disappointing report came on the heels of news that housing starts surged in April to the highest level in more than seven years. The National Association of Home Builders attributed that increase to pent-up demand.
The problem with existing home sales is that supply isn’t keeping up with demand, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. That’s driving prices up. More Americans are interested in buying houses this year than they were a year ago, however.
“With low interest rates and job growth, more buyers will be encouraged to enter the market unless prices accelerate even higher in relation to income,” Yun said.
The supply of existing homes for sale increased 10 percent in April to 2.21 million, but that’s below the inventory levels of April 2014.