Sales of existing homes edged up 2.9 percent from March to April, but inventory swelled by 8.8 percent as sellers entered the spring market, the National Association of Realtors said today.

The inventory of existing homes hit 3.97 million, a 10.2-month supply at the current pace of sales, up from 9.6 months in March, NAR said.

At an annual rate of 4.68 million units, existing-home sales were down 3.5 percent from a year ago, with most of the sales taking place in lower price ranges. Distressed properties accounted for 45 percent of all sales, helping push the median home price down 15.4 percent from a year ago, to $170,200, NAR reported.

In a separate report, the latest numbers from Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller showed a record 19.1 percent year-over-year decline in a national home-price index during the first quarter — the largest in data going back 21 years.

The S&P Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, showed average home prices down 32.2 percent from their peak in the second quarter of 2006, at levels comparable to the end of 2002.

An index tracking prices in 10 cities was down 18.6 percent, and the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite was down 18.7 percent from a year ago — both slight improvements from February.

Looking back a year, the three worst-performing metropolitan statistical areas were Phoenix (down 36 percent), Las Vegas (down 31.2 percent), and San Francisco (down 30.1 percent). The best-performing markets were Denver (down 5.5 percent), Dallas (down 5.6 percent), and Boston (down 8 percent).

Another house-price index based on purchase mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac showed a 7.1 percent year-over-year decline in home prices during the first quarter. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only house- price index showed increases in January and February offset by a decrease in March.

The 0.5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009 was an improvement from the 3.3 percent quarter-to-quarter decline seen in the last three months of 2008.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Real estate news and analysis that gives you the inside track. Subscribe to Inman Select for 50% off.SUBSCRIBE NOW×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription