Purchases of new houses probably held close to a record low in April, showing the real-estate market remains a weak link in the U.S. expansion, economists said before a report today.
New homes sold at a 300,000 annual pace last month, the same as in March, according to the median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Purchases sank to a 270,000 pace in February, the weakest in 48 years of data.
The prospect that foreclosures will keep driving down property values means that buyers may continue to shun new houses in favor of previously owned dwellings, hurting builders like D.R. Horton Inc. Unemployment at 9 percent, stagnant wages and credit restrictions add to the headwinds, signaling a housing recovery will take years to unfold.
“Until that overhang of existing homes works its way down, new-home sales will remain depressed and construction as well,” said Steve Blitz, a senior economist at ITG Investment Research Inc. in New York.
The Commerce Department’s report is due at 10 a.m. in Washington. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 280,000 to 320,000.
Douglas Yearley Jr., chief executive officer at Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, last week said the spring home-selling season has been “disappointing” and that “people are still scared.”