Progress in the housing market is slow but steady. Sales of existing homes rose 1.7 percent in April to a 5.45 million annualized pace and are up a very solid 6.0 percent from April last year. Prices are also up, with the median 5.0 percent higher in the month to $232,500 for a year-on-year gain of 6.3 percent. These are not earth shattering but they are at the very top of other growth rates in the economy.
The strength in prices is driving more homes into the market, to 2.14 million in April for a 9.2 percent gain. Still, year-on-year inventory is down 3.6 percent which is a significant factor slowing sales. But April definitely shows improvement with supply relative to sales at 4.7 months vs 4.4 months in the prior two months.
The Midwest is a top region right now for existing home sales, up 12.1 percent both on the month and the year. The Northeast shows a 2.8 percent monthly gain and a leading year-on-year rate of 17.5 percent. The South slipped in the month and but is still up 4.3 percent on the year while the West is a worry, down 1.7 percent in the month and the only region in decline on the year, at minus 3.4 percent.
Sales on the new home side of the market have been showing a similar pattern, respectable gains that however are being held back by lack of supply. Housing may not be storming into the Spring selling season but the sector still looks to contribute to what is expected to be a good second quarter for the economy as a whole.