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

WASHINGTON -- 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.

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.

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)