NAR: April home sales near record

Sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.5 percent in April, the third consecutive increase in a row and the second-highest pace on record, according to an industry trade group.
Homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.64 million units, up from a level of 6.48 million units in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The April rate was 15.1 percent above the 5.77-million unit pace recorded in April 2003 and was just 0.6 percent shy of the all-time high of 6.68 million posted in September of last year.

David Lereah, the NAR’s chief economist, said a strong month had been expected.

“Given the favorable economic backdrop and strong sales momentum, a big number was expected for April home sales and it’s likely we’ll see another big month in May,” he said. “Part of what we’re seeing now is fence-jumping from people wanting to buy a home before interest rates move higher. Even with an additional rise in recent weeks, the good news is that mortgage interest rates now appear to be leveling out in the 6.3 percent range.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.83 percent in April, up from 5.45 percent in March.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.41 million units in April, 11 percent above the same month a year earlier. The median resale price in the Midwest was $143,200, up 5.3 percent from April 2003.

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