May 22, 2019

Existing home sales disappoint again in April

Reproduced from National Association of REALTORS; Note: Historical data set used through December 2018. April 2019 is preliminary.; Chart: Axios Visuals

The April reading of U.S. existing home sales missed expectations on Tuesday, adding another losing month to a long trend on a year-over-year basis.

The big picture: After sales fell by almost 5% month-over-month in March, which was the biggest drop since November 2015, there was hope April would show a major pickup. That didn't happen, but LendingTree chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze tells Axios it's still too early to panic.

  • "In many ways a slowdown was inevitable given the affordability challenges in the market. Home prices have risen about 3 times the pace of incomes since 2012, which can’t go on forever."

Mortgage rates fell for the 4th straight week, with the 30-year fixed rate mortgage hitting its lowest level since January 2018, the Mortgage Brokers Association reported this morning. That should help boost next month's reading, Kapfidze added.

  • "Mortgage rates have been falling since November 2018, while prices have moderated. And yet the figures might not match the analysts' optimism."

Go deeper: The housing slump gets worse

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