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Home sales rise for a second straight month

Existing-home sales were up 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million in April from an upwardly revised 5.36 million in March, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Last month’s sales were six percent higher on a year-over-year basis and also marked the second consecutive month of increased activity in this sector.

Also on the rise was the median existing-home price: $232,500, up 6.3 percent from April 2015’s $218,700 level. April’s was the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year gains on median existing-home prices.

Another increase could be found in total housing inventory, which took a 9.2 percent upswing last month to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale. However, this is 3.6 percent lower than a year ago (2.22 million). The share of first-time buyers was 32 percent in April, up from 30 percent both in March and a year ago, while distressed sales fell for the second straight month to seven percent, down from eight percent in March month and 10 percent a year earlier.

Despite the positive data news, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun warned that problems are still lurking in the housing market.

“The temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there’s growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don’t rise and price growth doesn’t slow,” Yun said.

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