May 21 (UPI) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes declined by nearly 18 percent last month due partly to COVID-19 restrictions in most areas of the United States, an industry report said Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors said sales were down 17.8 percent in April, the largest month-to-month decline since 2010, and were down 17.2 percent year-to-year.
Sales volume fell to its lowest level since 2011 at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million units, the NAR said. The homes that did sell, however, fetched higher prices. The median price in April was $286,800, up 7.4 percent year-to-year.
"The economic lockdowns -- occurring from mid-March through April in most states -- have temporarily disrupted home sales," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices."
Earlier Thursday, data showed U.S. mortgage delinquencies increased by 1.6 million in April, the largest ever recorded in a single month.
Data from Black Knight also showed the delinquency rate nearly doubled from 3.4 percent in February to 6.5 percent in March, also a record.
The April delinquency numbers include past due payments and homeowners who have entered forbearance plans.
Black Knight reported last week that about 8.8 percent of U.S. mortgages are in forbearance due to the health crisis.
British analytics firm Oxford Economics said last week job losses will make it difficult for many U.S. households to continue making their monthly mortgage payments.
"We currently estimate about 15 percent of homeowners will fall behind on their payments, compared to a peak delinquency rate of 10 percent during the Great Recession," it said.