U.S. home re-sales rebounded in April and the supply of properties on the market increased, but the sales pace remained below last year’s level, an industry group reported Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing-home sales increased 1.3 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.65 million units. It was only the second increase in sales in the last nine months, and purchases of homes over the past 12 months have dropped 6.8 percent.
Most of the April gains was concentrated in the volatile apartment market, which experienced strong growth of 7.3 percent. Sales of single-family homes—the biggest sector in the housing market—rose only 0.5 percent last month.
Despite the improvement in sales last month, sales are well below the 5.1 million seen last year, the 5.38 million pace recorded last July, and the 5.5 million units associated with a healthy housing market.
Expensive home loans and rising housing prices have sidelined man first-time buyers from the market and have hurt sales since last summer. Though an unusually cold winter depressed housing activity, a lack of homes for sale also reduced demand.
Home sales are expected to gradually trend higher for the rest of 2014 as job growth and the overall economy accelerate. Moreover, the inventory of unsold homes on the market increased 6.5 percent from a year ago in April, and median home prices increased at their slowest pace since early 2012.