U.S. Existing-Home Sales Fell in April Amid Tight Inventory

By Sarah Chaney and Jeffrey Sparshott Features Dow Jones Newswires

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell 2.3% in April from the prior month's revised level to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected sales would fall 1.1% to a 5.65 million annual rate last month.

The decrease comes after home sales in March hit their highest pace in 10 years and as supply remains at low levels. Compared with a year earlier, sales in April were up 1.6%.

"Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it's stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a statement.

The median sales price in April was $244,800, up 6% from a year earlier, and there was a 4.2-month supply of homes on the market at the end of the month.

Inventory has remained low in part because of a sluggish rate of new-home construction. Housing starts declined in April for the third time in four months.

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News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 24, 2017 10:21 ET (14:21 GMT)