(Kitco News) – Gold prices are subdued after a report from the National Association of Realtors Monday showed that sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell by 4.9% in to an annualized pace of 5.21 million in March.
Spot gold was last down 70 cents to $1,274.80 an ounce.
Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations called for sales to be around 5.3 million. The March pullback came after a sharp rise in February.
“It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized.”
The year-on-year decline was 5.4%.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $259,400, up 3.8% from the same month a year ago. This was the 85th straight month of year-on-year gains.
The country’s housing inventory at the end of March increased to 1.68 million units from 1.63 million available for sale in February. This was a 2.4% increase from 1.64 million a year ago. The unsold inventory represents a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.6 months in February.
“Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check,” Yun said. “The sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”
By Allen Sykora
For Kitco News