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Economist on home sales: 'Activity remains tepid'

Lindsey Piegza

Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza had some words regarding Thursday's existing-home sales report, and they weren't particularly inspired.

Even though April saw the first increase in sales this year so far, the majority of that progress was riding on the volatile multi-family home market, Piegza explained. Multi-family units were up 7.3%, while single-family homes were only up 0.5%.

On a year-over-year level especially, sales were down 6.8%, and that number falls to 7.7% for single-family homes.

"Housing activity remains tepid with the vast majority of sales in the multi-family unit space," she said in a release Thursday. "After back-to-back months of declining sales at the start of the year, warmer spring weather hasn't been enough to create noticeable momentum in housing purchases," sentiment echoed yesterday by NY Federal Reserve president William Dudley. "Industry insiders remain cautiously optimistic as we head into the key spring selling season, but with prices on the rise, many potential home-buyers are reportedly being priced out of the market."

Piegza added that lending standards may need to loosen if home values continue their upward trajectory.


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