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Expand chart
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

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.