Well, another report, another surprise, and not a good one.
Everyone was expecting Existing Home Sales to rise for the month of March. But sales of previously occupied homes dipped to 4.92M in March and they are saying that supply remained “tight”. However you cut it, the unexpected drop in the sales of previously owned U.S. homes is clearly showing uneven progress in the industry.
Purchases of previously owned houses, tabulated when a contract closes, fell 0.6 percent to a 4.92 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would increase to a 5 million rate. Prices climbed, reflecting more demand for higher-priced houses.
Historically low mortgage rates, rising property values and employment gains have helped mend the U.S. housing market, a source of strength for the world’s largest economy a boost. At the same time, a drop in the inventory of cheaper properties for sale compared with last year may be restraining the pace of progress in the industry.
Sales estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 4.9 million to 5.2 million. The prior month’s pace was revised to 4.95 million from a previously reported 4.98 million. Existing-home purchases, counted when contracts close, are recovering from a 13-year low of 4.11 million in 2008. Annual sales peaked at 7.08 million in 2005. A total of 4.66 million previously-owned houses were sold in 2012.