It’s a red-hot real estate market — so why are home sales plunging?


The number of existing home sales plunged in April, surprising economists who had expected last month’s drop to moderate. Real estate experts say this is an indication that shortages of everything from lumber to kitchen appliances are reverberating throughout an already red-hot market — good news for sellers, but a situation that threatens to price out a growing number of buyers, despite mortgage rates that remain near historic lows.

Existing home sales fell from an annualized 6.01 million to 5.85 million, the National Association of Realtors said on Friday. The consensus had been for a tiny uptick to 6.02 million.

The plunge can be attributed to a lack of inventory, said Nick Bailey, chief customer officer at RE/MAX. It’s a perfect storm for home buyers: Builders are contending with widespread and unprecedented supply chain choke points just as the swelling population of millennials is seeking to transition into larger homes to accommodate…

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