US new-home sales post slight gain in April

Model homes and for sale signs line the streets as construction continues at a housing plan in Zelienople, Pa. U.S. new home sales ticked up 0.6% in April, a surprising gain amid the coronavirus outbreak that hints at the relative health of potential buyers.

WASHINGTON — Sales of existing home plunged 17.8% in April with the real estate market in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Association of Realtors said today that last month's decline pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million units, the slowest pace since September 2011.

The sales drop was the largest one-month decline since a 22.5% fall in July 2010. That tail-off was preceded by the end a congressionally-approved tax credit intended pull the housing market out of the 2006 collapse of the housing market.

The median price for a home sold in April was $286,800, which was an increase of 7.4% from a year ago. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group, attributed the big jump in the median price to a lack of enough homes for sale, especially for first-time buyers.

Sales were down in all parts of the country with the West seeing a 25% drop. Sales in the Northeast fell 16.9%. Sales were down 17.9% in the South and down 12% in the Midwest.