Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home Sales Fall 4.9% in Slow Start to Spring Buying Season
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
April 22, 2019

Share

WASHINGTON — Sales of existing U.S. homes fell in March after a huge gain the previous month, held back partly by a sharp slowdown among the most expensive properties.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that home sales fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, down from 5.48 million in February. The drop followed an 11.2% gain the previous month, the largest in more than three years.

“We look for a combination of strong demand and lower mortgage rates to support modest growth in sales over the balance of the year.” Nancy Vanden Houten, senior U.S. economist at Oxford Economics
Home sales are struggling to rebound after slumping in the second half of last year, when a jump in mortgage rates to nearly 5% discouraged many would-be buyers. Spring buying is so far running behind last year’s healthy gains: Sales were 5.4% below where they were a year earlier.
Most analysts expect sales to rebound in the coming months. Borrowing costs have since fallen back to an average of 4.2% on a 30-year fixed mortgage. And solid hiring is pushing employers to pay higher wages, making it easier for more Americans to afford a home purchase.
Applications for mortgages to purchase homes have been running at a healthy pace in recent months, evidence that final sales should pick up in the coming months. Demand remains strong, with homes on the market for an average of 36 days in March, down from 44 in February.
“We look for a combination of strong demand and lower mortgage rates to support modest growth in sales over the balance of the year,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, senior U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.
Still, a split in the market has emerged, thanks partly to the Trump administration’s tax cut law. Sales increased slightly among mid-priced homes but fell sharply among homes priced at $1 million or more.

Developers Have Built More Expensive Homes in Recent Years

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, said that the tax changes have limited the ability of wealthier homeowners to deduct mortgage interest payments and property taxes. That’s discouraging sales of more expensive homes.

Properties valued at $100,000 or less, mostly condos, also saw a sharp drop in sales, though that reflects a lack of available homes at that price point. The slowdown among higher-priced homes has occurred because of weaker demand.
Developers have built more expensive homes in recent years while pulling back from cheaper properties, even as middle-income Americans are eager to buy.
“The lower-end market is hot while the upper-end market is not,” Yun said.
Properties valued at $100,000 or less, mostly condos, also saw a sharp drop in sales, though that reflects a lack of available homes at that price point. The slowdown among higher-priced homes has occurred because of weaker demand.
Sales fell in all four major U.S. regions, with the biggest decline occurring in the Midwest. That may have partly reflected the impact of massive flooding in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska last month.
The broader U.S. economy is looking much better now than it did a couple of months ago, when the government shutdown, slumping retail sales and slower global growth threatened to drag down the U.S. economy.
Earlier this year, economists forecast growth could fall to as low as 0.5% at an annual rate in the first three months of the year. Now, analysts expect the government on Friday could report growth as high as 2.8%.

DON'T MISS

Willie Mays, Giants’ Legendary ‘Say Hey Kid,’ Dies at 93

DON'T MISS

Balderrama Applies for Texas Police Chief Job

DON'T MISS

California Fines Amazon Nearly $6M, Alleging Illegal Work Quotas at 2 Warehouses

DON'T MISS

Nvidia’s Stock Market Value Topped $3.3 Trillion. How It Became No. 1 in the S&P 500, by the Numbers

DON'T MISS

Two Fresnans Defrauded a Mentally Ill Man out of Millions. First Sentencing Comes Down.

DON'T MISS

California Governor Wants to Restrict Smartphone Usage in Schools

DON'T MISS

Fresno Trustees Prepare for Votes on $2.1 Billion Budget, $500M Bond Measure

DON'T MISS

Fresno Garbage Rate Hike Vote on Thursday. Where Does Council Stand?

DON'T MISS

Palestinian Supporters Hang ‘Stop the Genocide’ Banner on El Capitan in Yosemite Protest

DON'T MISS

California Business & Labor Hammer Out a Deal on Workplace Violation Lawsuits

UP NEXT

Joe Biden’s Best Chance to Shake up the Race

UP NEXT

Biden’s Stimulus Juiced the Economy, but Its Political Effects Are Muddled

UP NEXT

Did You Buy a Disneyland ‘Dream Key’? Disney May Owe You Money.

UP NEXT

The Washington Post Delves Into a Difficult Story: Itself

UP NEXT

Judge Orders Railway to Pay Washington Tribe Nearly $400 Million for Trespassing with Oil Trains

UP NEXT

America Needs Big Wins. These Would Be Three.

UP NEXT

Long Prison Stint for Fresno Man Busted in Child Solicitation Sting

UP NEXT

2 Killed When Vintage Plane Crashes During Father’s Day Event at Southern California Airfield

UP NEXT

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to Issue Over 175,000 Marijuana Pardons

UP NEXT

Squaw Valley Man Allegedly Killed by Lifelong Friend

Nvidia’s Stock Market Value Topped $3.3 Trillion. How It Became No. 1 in the S&P 500, by the Numbers

12 hours ago

Two Fresnans Defrauded a Mentally Ill Man out of Millions. First Sentencing Comes Down.

13 hours ago

California Governor Wants to Restrict Smartphone Usage in Schools

13 hours ago

Fresno Trustees Prepare for Votes on $2.1 Billion Budget, $500M Bond Measure

13 hours ago

Fresno Garbage Rate Hike Vote on Thursday. Where Does Council Stand?

13 hours ago

Palestinian Supporters Hang ‘Stop the Genocide’ Banner on El Capitan in Yosemite Protest

14 hours ago

California Business & Labor Hammer Out a Deal on Workplace Violation Lawsuits

16 hours ago

How the Teamsters and a Homegrown Union Plan to Take On Amazon

16 hours ago

Colorado LGBTQ+ Club Shooter Pleads Guilty to 50 Federal Hate Crimes

16 hours ago

Boeing CEO Apologizes to 737 Max Crash Victims’ Families in Senate Hearing

16 hours ago

Willie Mays, Giants’ Legendary ‘Say Hey Kid,’ Dies at 93

Willie Mays, the electrifying “Say Hey Kid” whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest a...

10 hours ago

10 hours ago

Willie Mays, Giants’ Legendary ‘Say Hey Kid,’ Dies at 93

11 hours ago

Balderrama Applies for Texas Police Chief Job

12 hours ago

California Fines Amazon Nearly $6M, Alleging Illegal Work Quotas at 2 Warehouses

12 hours ago

Nvidia’s Stock Market Value Topped $3.3 Trillion. How It Became No. 1 in the S&P 500, by the Numbers

13 hours ago

Two Fresnans Defrauded a Mentally Ill Man out of Millions. First Sentencing Comes Down.

13 hours ago

California Governor Wants to Restrict Smartphone Usage in Schools

13 hours ago

Fresno Trustees Prepare for Votes on $2.1 Billion Budget, $500M Bond Measure

13 hours ago

Fresno Garbage Rate Hike Vote on Thursday. Where Does Council Stand?

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend