Following two consecutive months of declines, sales of new, single-family homes rose in April to reach an annual rate of 433,000 – about 6.4% above the estimated March rate of 407,000 but 4.2% below the April 2013 rate of 452,000 – according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The median sales price of new homes sold in April was $275,800. The average sales price was $320,100.
About 192,000 new homes were listed on the market in April – about a 5.3-month supply at the current sales rate.
Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s April 29-30 policy meeting released earlier this week indicate that the slowdown in home sales has caught the attention of the Fed. Officials cited a range of factors for the weakness, including “higher home prices, construction bottlenecks stemming from a scarcity of labor and harsh winter weather, input cost pressures, or a shortage in the supply of available lots,” according to the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Meanwhile, sales of previously owned homes rose 1.3% in April, with the inventory of existing homes for sale reaching the highest level in nearly two years, according to data released this week by the National Association of Realtors.
And mortgage rates continued to trend downward for a third week, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling to 4.14%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Whether the increased inventory and lower rates will result in increased home sales in June remains to be seen.