U.S. home prices rose less than economists estimated in April as sellers put more properties on the market.
Prices climbed 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a report Tuesday. The average economist estimate was for a 0.5 percent increase, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The supply of homes on the market has climbed as sellers take advantage of the highest property values since the real estate boom. Inventory rose to 2.3 million properties last month from 1.9 million at the beginning of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors. An increase in the number of homes for sale cools price gains as buyers turn to alternative properties rather than getting into bidding wars.
The FHFA’s index showed home prices increased 5.3 percent in April from a year earlier. The gauge is 2.3 percent below its March 2007 peak and roughly the same as the February 2006 level.
The index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The gauge is used to set the annual caps for the size of government-backed mortgages. It’s a repeat- sales index, meaning it tracks price changes on individual properties, a method many economists consider more accurate than using a national average of all sales.
The FHFA report doesn’t provide home prices. The median price for an existing home was $228,700 in May, up 7.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.
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