Fewer distressed homes, waning investor demand weigh on sales

Home sales slid for the fourth straight month in February as a declining supply of distressed properties and weakened demand from investors continued to constrain purchases, data aggregator RealtyTrac reported.

Home sales, including  single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, slid 0.2 percent month over month in February to an estimated annual pace of 5.08 million, but were still up 7 percent from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac’s latest Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report.

Short sales and sales of bank-owned homes or homes in foreclosure rose to account for 16.9 percent of all U.S. sales in February from 16.1 percent in January, but were down from 19.1 percent a year earlier, the report found.

Amid the decrease in distressed sales, purchases by institutional investors rose to account for 5.9 percent of all purchases from 5 percent a month earlier. But on annual basis, they declined for the third straight month after 19 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

“The supply of distressed properties — which buyers and investors have come to rely on over the past few years — is evaporating quickly in most markets, but that dwindling supply is not being adequately replenished by nondistressed homeowners listing their homes or by new homes being built,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist in a statement.

Source: RealtyTrac