By: Dennis Norman
Sales for April were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4,680,000 homes which is down 3.5% from last year, which means in year over year numbers things are improving because last months annual rate was down 7.1% from the year before.
The Midwest region which has held steady for the prior two months saw a modest 2% decrease from March and was the only region with decrease this time. The Northeast region had the highest increase in sales over March at 11.6% but is still down 10.5% from a year ago. The West had a 3.5% increase over March and is still the only region showing an increase over the prior year with a 19.4% increase. The South had a 1.8% increase over March and is down 8.9% from a year ago.
Median home prices in the U.S. basically held steady increasing only $300 to $170,200 from $169,900 in March. Median home prices are down 15.4% from a year ago.
Last month it appeared the West region saw a 9.5% increase in median home prices based upon preliminary data, however after the final numbers were in the median price for March was revised to $227,400 which was down 1.3% from February and in April prices dropped 2.1% to $222,600. Prices in the Midwest held steady at $138,800, up $100 from the month before, and in the South prices increased $1,100 to $148,000. Prices in the Northeast increased 2.9% to $237,400.
Overall I think the numbers show the market is trying to find a bottom and may be leveling off.
Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS(R) said “most of the sales are taking place in lower price ranges and activity is beginning to pick up in the mid-price ranges, but high-end home sales remain sluggish.” Yun went on to say “because foreclosed properties will likely be released into the market the rest of (the) year, it is critical that distressed homes be quickly cleared from the market.”