Existing Homes Back On Track

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By David Urani

Existing-home sales of 4.62 million for April came just slightly below the consensus estimate of 4.66 million, but what's important is that it rose from 4.47 million in March. This supports previous housing evidence that suggests a rebound is under way after a modest lull earlier in the year. Now sales are at the highest point since January.

Interestingly, sales in the Northeast, Midwest, and South were each at the highest point since May 2010, while the West was the laggard, remaining 3.3% below January's level. Nevertheless, sales in the West rose 4.4% above March.

In the meantime, average and median prices rose to mid-2010 levels. One item that worries us, though, is the 9.5% increase in inventory in the month to 2.54 million. This is the highest point since November, right before foreclosure supply froze up on the robo-signing scandal. We may be seeing the start of the reintroduction of those frozen foreclosures, but one month is too early to call a trend.