Sales of U.S. existing homes fall 18% in April; gold remains lower

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Editor’s note: updating earlier story with more details from report.

(Kitco News) – Gold prices extended their losses after a report showing that sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell by 18% in to an annualized pace of 4.33 million during April.

As of 10:15 a.m. EDT, spot gold was down $21.50 to $1,726.90 an ounce.

The result was in line with consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations that called for sales to be around 4.2 million to 4.3 million.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales in all four major regions declined, with the biggest drop occurring in the west. Sales have now fallen two months in a row due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization said.

“The economic lockdowns – occurring from mid-March through April in most states – have temporarily disrupted home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices.”
The tally for existing-home sales was the lowest since 3.45 million in July 2010.

Meanwhile, the median sales price of existing homes was $286,800, which was up 7.4% from $267,000 in April 2019. The increase marks 98 straight months of year-over-year gains, NAR said.

“Record-low mortgage rates are likely to remain in place for the rest of the year, and will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen,” Yun said. “Still, more listings and increased home construction will be needed to tame price growth.”

Total housing inventory at the end of April was put at 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from March. Inventory amounts to a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.4 months in March, NAR said.