For April, 2013

Existing home sales edge down, prices rise


Home resales edged downward in March, a pause in the housing market recovery that has helped boost the economy.

The National Association of Realtors said on Monday that existing home sales edged down 0.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million units.

The nation’s inventory of existing homes for sale rose 1.6% during the month to 1.93 million. That represented 4.7 month’s supply at March’s sales pace, up from 4.6 in February.

Nationwide, the median price for a home resale rose to $184,300 in March, up 11.8% from a year earlier, the biggest increase since November 2005. The limited supply of available properties is pushing up home values.

The share of distressed sales, which also include those where the sales price was below the amount owed on the home, accounted for 21% of home resales last month, down from 25% a month earlier. It was the lowest since the NAR began tracking the number in October 2008 as the foreclosure crisis escalated.

Rising Costs Hammer Home Builder Confidence


Confidence among U.S. home builders fell in April, as concerns over lack of developed land lots and rising costs for building materials weighed heavily. A monthly industry index fell two points, the third consecutive month of declining builder sentiment in single family homes, after solid gains throughout much of 2012.

“Supply chains for building materials, developed lots and skilled workers will take some time to re-establish themselves following the recession, and in the meantime builders are feeling squeezed by higher costs and limited availability issues,” explained National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe.

The NAHB’s monthly confidence index now stands at 42, up from 24 in April of 2012.  Sales expectations over the next six months posted a three point gain to its highest level since February of 2007.

Regionally, home builder confidence was unchanged in the Northeast and fell in the other three regions with the South seeing the deepest decline. Builders in the West have been particularly hard hit by lack of land and labor, as a heavy investor presence in the distressed market has pushed other buyers to new construction, creating unexpected high demand.

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