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April 2018 Existing-Home Sales

  • NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this April fell 2.5 percent from last month and dropped 1.4 percent from last year. April’s existing home sales reached 5.46 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.
  • The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $257,900 in April, up 5.3 percent from a year ago. This marks the 74th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
  • Regionally, all four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago, with the West leading all regions with an incline of 6.2 percent. The Midwest had a gain of 4.6 percent followed by the South with a gain of 3.9 percent. The Northeast had the smallest gain of 2.8 percent from April 2017.

  • April’s inventory figures are up 9.8 percent from last month to 1.67 million homes for sale. However, compared with April of 2017, fewer homes are available, with inventory down 6.2 percent, marking 35 months of year-over-year declines. It will take 4.0 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. Transactions are moving faster and it takes approximately 26 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, down from 39 days a year ago.

  • From March, three of the four regions experienced declines in sales. The Northeast had the biggest decline of 4.4 percent followed by the West with a drop of 3.3 percent. The South fell 2.9 percent. The Midwest region was flat.
  • Three of the four regions showed declines in sales from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest drop in sales of 11.0 percent followed by the Midwest with a decline of 3.0 percent. The West had a modest dip of 0.8 percent. The South was the only region to have a gain of 2.2 percent. The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 42.7 percent of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 11.9 percent.

  • In April, single-family sales declined 3.0 percent and condominiums sales rose 1.6 percent compared to last month. Single-family home sales fell 1.6 percent and condominium sales were unchanged compared to a year ago. Both single-family and condominiums had an increase in price with single-family up 5.5 percent at $259,900 and condominiums up 3.4 percent at $245,500 from April 2017.

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: April 2018 Highlights

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) survey[1] gathers monthly information from REALTORS® about local real estate market conditions, characteristics of buyers and sellers, and issues affecting homeownership and real estate transactions.[2] This report presents key results about market transactions from April 2018. View and download the full report here.

Market Conditions and Expectations

  • The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 74 (75 in April 2017).[3]
  • The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 45 (46 in April 2017).
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index—SixMonth Outlook Current Conditions registered at 74 for detached single-family, 63 for townhome, and 59 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve.
  • Properties were typically on the market for 26 days (29 days in April 2017).
  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in April 2018 compared to levels one year ago (82 percent in April 2017).

Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers

  • First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of sales (34 percent in April 2017).
  • Vacation and investment buyers comprised 15 percent of sales (15 percent in April 2017).
  • Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for 3.5 percent of sales (5 percent in April 2017).
  • Cash sales made up 21 percent of sales (21 percent in April 2017).
  • Eighteen percent of sellers offered incentives such as paying for closing costs (8 percent), providing a warranty (7 percent), and undertaking remodeling (2 percent).[4]

Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers

  • From February–April 2018, 78 percent of contracts settled on time (72 percent in April 2017).
  • Among sales that closed in April 2018, 75 percent had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (55 percent), obtaining financing (44 percent), and getting an acceptable appraisal (41 percent).
  • REALTORS® report “low inventory”, “interest rates”, and “multiple offers” as the major issues affecting transactions in April 2018.

About the RCI Survey

  • The RCI Survey gathers information from REALTORS® about local market conditions based on their client interactions and the characteristics of their most recent sales for the month.
  • The April 2018 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s 1.3 million members through simple random sampling and to 7,082 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses.
  • There were 4,555 respondents to the online survey which ran from May 1-9, 2018. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is one percent. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50 percent are larger.
  • NAR weighs the responses by a factor that aligns the sample distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is provided by NAR solely for use as a reference. Resale of any part of this data is prohibited without NAR’s prior written consent. For questions on this report or to purchase the RCI series, please email: Data@realtors.org


[1] Thanks to George Ratiu, Managing Director, Housing and Commercial Research and Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report.

[2] Respondents report on the most recent characteristics of their most recent sale for the month.

[3] An index greater than 50 means more respondents reported conditions as “strong” compared to one year ago than “weak.” An index of 50 indicates a balance of respondents

who viewed conditions as “strong” or “weak.”

[4] The difference in the sum of percentages to the total percentage of sellers who offered incentives is due to rounding.

March 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.42 percent this March, up 8.2 percent compared to 4.28 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in March moving the index down 7.0 percent from 150.4 to 161.7. The median sales price for a single family home sold in March in the US was $252,111 up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 35 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points), while median family incomes rose 2.7 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in price at 8.5 percent. The South had an increase of 6.0 percent while the Midwest had a gain of 5.1 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 3.5 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest drop in affordability of 9.2 percent. The South had a decline of 7.3 percent followed by the Midwest with a drop of 5.7 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop of 2.7 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in all four regions. The West had a decline of 4.7 percent followed by the Northeast with a dip of 5.6 percent. The South had a drop of 5.9 percent followed by the Midwest, which had the biggest; dip in affordability of 8.6 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 194.7. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.6. For comparison, the index was 151.8 in the South, and 163.5 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down 2.5 percent. Mortgage credit availability in April was flat. Rates are rising which will increase-housing costs. Home prices are up 5.9 percent while median family incomes are only growing 2.7 percent. Inventory gains will help ease the pressure on home prices.
  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

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