May 26, 2020 - Economy

Existing U.S. home prices soar to record high

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell 17.8% month over month and 17.2% year over year in April, but the median price jumped to a record high, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said last week.

Why it matters: The data shows the combination of decreasing supply and historically low interest rates continued to push prices higher in an already expensive housing market.

  • The numbers were based on closed sales, so it corresponds to sales made in late February and March, suggesting the coronavirus pandemic began hitting the real estate market early.
  • The supply of homes for sale fell 19.7% annually to the lowest April inventory figure ever.
  • The median price of an existing home sold in April rose 7.4% annually to $286,800, a record high in nominal value.

The big picture: The disruption to sales was limited and listings on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release.

  • “Record-low mortgage rates are likely to remain in place for the rest of the year, and will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen,” he said. “Still, more listings and increased home construction will be needed to tame price growth.”

What's next: The government's FHFA home price index of single-family homes will be released today at 9am ET, followed by the Commerce Department's new home sales report at 10 am ET.

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