Inventories vary by market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported an increase of 1.3% in existing home sales in April from March of this year. However, it also found that home sales are almost 7% below the rate set in April  2013.

Thus far this year, sales in Greenwich amounted to 118 homes, after 497 homes were reported sold in Greenwich for all of 2013. It remains to be seen how many homes sell the second half of this year. Last year the real estate market dropped off in the fourth quarter but that was mainly attributed to the government shutdown.

It was anticipated that there would be an increase in home sales after the first quarter of the year, because of the poor weather in many areas of the country during that period, an issue that most certainly included Greenwich. Improved inventory and an increase in new construction across the country will help bolster the real estate market. This year as a whole, even if there is a marked improvement in the coming months, will not be as strong as last year thanks to that slow start this year across many markets, according to the chief economist of NAR.

Housing inventories rose almost 17% in April reaching a 5.9-month supply at the current sales rate. This is up from a 5.1-month supply in March. Remaining unsold inventory is 6.5% higher than last year. There continues to be a “balancing act” involving home inventory and price growth. There also continues to be differences in supply and demand among markets and towns within markets.

The national median existing-home price in April was 5.2% higher than last year. Price growth has slowed, which helps affordability conditions in many markets across the nation.

Distressed sales (meaning foreclosures and short sales) have been decreasing. Distressed sales accounted for 15% of April sales (10% were foreclosures and 5% were short sales). This is down 3% from April  2013.

More importantly, for the fourth consecutive month, homes sold at a faster pace. According to NAR, 40% of homes across the country sold in less than a month in April. The median time on the market for all homes was 48 days in April, which is a decrease from 55 days in March of this year.

Regionally, existing home sales and prices were as follows:

In the Northeast, existing-home sales held at an annual rate of 600,000sold when comparing April to March, but decreased 6.3% when compared to 2013 levels. Median home prices are down 0.4% from last year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 1% in April from March, and are 9.6% down from last year’s levels. Median home prices are up 5.8% from April 2013 levels.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 1% in April from March, but are 3.5% below last year’s levels.  Median home prices are up 3.2% from last April.

In the West, existing-home sales increased almost 5%, but are 10% below 2013 levels. Median home prices are up 9.7% from April of last year.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]

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