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Shortages cut into sales of existing US homes in April

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the third straight month in April as the number of properties for sale hit a record low, driving prices to new highs

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the third straight month in April as the number of properties for sale hit a record low, driving prices to new highs.

Existing home sales fell 2.7% last month from March to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.85 million annualized units, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. Sales jumped 33.9% from April last year, when the pandemic caused sales to slow sharply.

The pace of sales in April was the slowest since last June and well below the 6.01 million homes economists expected, according to FactSet.

The U.S. median home price surged 19.1% from a year earlier to $341,600, an all-time high. At the end of April, the inventory of unsold homes stood at just 1.16 million, a slight improvement from March. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.4-month supply, versus a 4-month supply a year earlier, the NAR said.

“Even with home sales declining modestly, one can describe the market as being hot,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. “All indications is that buyer demand remains strong.”

Would-be homebuyers across the U.S. are facing perhaps the most competitive market in decades, with homes typically receiving multiple offers. Half of the homes on the market are selling for more than the list price, Yun said.

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2020 file photo, a real estate brokerage sign stands in front of a house in Norwood, Mass. Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in March for the second straight month as buyers grappled with a stubbornly low inventory of available properties and fierce competition pushed prices to new highs. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday, April 22, 2021 that existing home sales fell 3.7% last month from February to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 6.01 million annualized units. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)