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April home sales drop nearly 18%.

The economic fallout from the coronavirus hit the housing market hard in April.

Sales of existing homes fell 17.8% month-to-month, and were 17.2% lower than April 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the National Association of Realtors. That puts the annualized pace at 4.33 million units, the slowest sales pace since September 2011. 

The April drop in closings is the largest one-month decline since July 2010, when the homebuyer tax credit, a federal stimulus resulting from the subprime mortgage crash, expired.

Certainly with the lock-down occurring from mid-March, and given the shakiness from the stock market in February, that hurt pending contracts, so now we are seeing an almost 20% decline in existing homes sales,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “April activity will be down, but what we are hearing from Realtors is they are getting busy as governors are opening the economy.

Mortgage rates did not help buyers, as they not only jumped, but were highly erratic in March, and lending tightened dramatically due to coronavirus mortgage forbearance programs that allow homeowners to delay payments. That made it even harder for those few buyers out in the market to get the financing they may have needed. 

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