WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Home sales rose from 4.59 million in March to 4.65 million in April according to the National Association of Realtors, the first positive growth in sales this year.
The additional sales represent a 1.3 percent growth in the market, but are 6.8 percent lower than the 4.99 million homes sold in April 2013. Rising prices, interest rates, low inventory and a historically harsh winter are all credited with depressing sales.
"Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year."
"We'll continue to see a balancing act between housing inventory and price growth, which remains stronger than normal simply because there have not been enough sellers in many areas. More inventory and increased new-home construction will help to foster healthy market conditions."
The sluggish growth is also good news for first-time homebuyers.
"Homes that show well and are properly priced tend to sell the fastest," explained NAR president Steve Brown. "More housing inventory gives buyers better choices, and takes the pressure off of the buying process, which is a welcome sign, especially for first-time buyers."