April Home Sales Highest For The Month In 6 Years, Median Sales Price Highest In 5 Years

 |  Includes: ITB, IYR, REZ, XHB
by: Mark J. Perry

Here are some highlights of today's report on April existing-home sales from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

1. For the month of April, existing-home sales (at 4.97 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate) were at the highest level for any month since November 2009, three and a half years ago, and were the highest for the month of April in six years -- since 2007.

2. Compared to a year ago, home sales increased in April by 9.7%, which was the 22nd consecutive month of a year-over-year increase in home sales.

3. The median sales price for homes sold in April was $192,800, which was 11% above a year ago, and the highest median price since August 2008, nearly five years ago. It was also the 14th consecutive month of a year-over-year increase in the median home price, which hasn't happened since the period from April 2005 to May 2006.

4. Distressed sales accounted for 18% of April sales, down from 21% in March and 28% in April 2012.

5. Close to half (44%) of homes sold in April were on the market fewer than 30 days, while only 8% were on the market for a year or longer.

Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said the housing market is in a recovery and summed it up this way:

The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory. Without these frictions, existing-home sales easily would be well above the 5 million unit pace. Buyer traffic is 31% stronger than a year ago, but sales are running only about 10% higher. It's become quite clear that the only way to tame price growth to a manageable, healthy pace is higher levels of new home construction.

Overall, this was a pretty positive report on existing-home sales, and additional evidence that "more homes are selling faster at higher prices" -- which are the characteristics of a housing market recovery.