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Existing Home Sales Drop, Jobless Claims Decline

Existing Home Sales Drop, Jobless Claims Decline

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Existing Home Sales Drop

Existing home sales in April declined 3.4% from the prior month and 23.2% from a year earlier, marking continued difficulties for housing demand amid high interest rates and limited inventory of homes available for sale, the National Association of Realtors reported.

The trade group said Thursday that approximately 4.3 million homes were sold during the month at a median price of $388,800, down 1.7% from a year earlier. The annual price decline was the steepest since January 2012, with the trade group’s data including single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums.

“Home sales are bouncing back and forth but remain above recent cyclical lows,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “The combination of job gains, limited inventory and fluctuating mortgage rates over the last several months have created an environment of push-pull housing demand.

The trade group said unsold for-sale inventory was at a 2.9 month supply at the current sales pace, up from 2.6 months at the end of March and 2.2 months in April 2022. Single-family pricing and availability impact prospective buyers including renters, who are staying in the apartment pool as they wait for buying conditions to improve.

“Roughly half of the country is experiencing price gains,” Yun said. “Even in markets with lower prices, primarily the expensive West region, multiple-offer situations have returned in the spring buying season following the calmer winter market. Distressed and forced property sales are virtually nonexistent.”

Jobless Claims Decline

Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 242,000 for the week that ended May 13, down 22,000 from the prior week, the Labor Department Thursday.

Initial claims have bounced up and down over the past few weeks but remain low by historical standards in a relatively tight labor market, despite a wave of layoffs this year in technology and other industries.

The government said the four-week moving average for initial claims was 244,250. That was a decline of 1,000 from the prior week.

Continuing claims in all programs, reported on a more delayed basis, totaled approximately 1.7 million for the week that ended April 29. That was a drop of 29,380 from the prior week, but higher than the 1.4 million continuing claims for the comparable week of 2022.

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