By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing homes plunged 17.8% in April with the real estate market still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that last month’s decline pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million units, the slowest pace since September 2011.
The sales drop was the largest one-month decline since a 22.5% fall in July 2010. That tail-off was preceded by the end a congressionally-approved tax credit intended pull the housing market out of the 2006 collapse of the housing market.
The median price for a home sold in April was $286,800, which was an increase of 7.4% from a year ago. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group, attributed the big jump in the median price to a lack of enough homes for sale, especially for first-time buyers.
As was the case for the month prior, April sales decreased in every region from the previous month’s levels. Median home prices in each region grew from one year ago, with the Northeast and Midwest regions showing the strongest price gains.
April 2020 existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 16.9%, recording an annual rate of 540,000, an 18.2% decrease from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $312,500, up 8.7% from April 2019.
Existing-home sales decreased 12.0% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1.10 million, down 8.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $229,200, a 9.3% increase from April 2019.
Existing-home sales in the South dropped 17.9% to an annual rate of 1.88 million in April, down 16.8% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $249,400, a 6.4% increase from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 25.0% to an annual rate of 810,000 in April, a 27.0% decline from a year ago. The median price in the West was $419,300, up 6.1% from April 2019.