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Existing Home Sales Edge Up 1.3%

Sales of existing homes increased 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million for April, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report released today.

Much of the gains were concentrated in the volatile condominium market, which experienced growth of 7.3%. Sales of single-family homes were up just 0.5% last month. The latest numbers show homebuying running significantly below the 2013 pace, when 5.1 million existing homes were bought, well below the 5.5 million that is consistent with a healthy housing market.

After declining 0.2% for March, analysts had expected slightly more from April, but their 4.69 million estimate proved overly optimistic. Compared to April 2013, existing home sales were down 6.8%. The numbers include completed transactions on single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops.

For April 2014, the housing inventory jumped 16.8% to 2.29 million existing homes. At the current sales rate, this represents a 5.9-month supply of existing homes, according to the association, a full 15.6% above March's supply.

"Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in today's press release. "Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year."

As sales fell over the last 12 months, the median sales price increased 5.2% to $201,700.

The median time on the market fell for the fourth straight month, down seven days from March to 48. Compared to April 2013, houses spend an average of five days less on the market .

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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