Existing Sales Rise 1.1 Percent in March

Existing-home sales increased 1.1% in March, but remain down 1.2% from a year ago. The first-time buyer share of 30% is also down from 32% a year ago. The National Association of Realtors reported that 50% of homes sold last month were on the market less than a month. The March inventory increased 5.7%, but remains 7.2% below the level a year ago, and has decreased for 34 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis. At the current sales rate, the March unsold inventory represents a 3.6-month supply, down from a 3.8-month supply a year ago. March existing sales reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.60 million units, compared to 5.54 million in February. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

Existing sales increased 6.3% in the Northeast and 5.7% in the Midwest, reversing weather-impacted declines last month. Existing sales declined slightly by 0.4% in the South and 3.1% in the West. Year-over-year sales increased 0.8% in the West and 0.4% in the South, while declining by 1.5% in the Midwest and 9.3% in the Northeast.

Homes stayed on the market for 30 days in March, down from 37 days In February.

The March all-cash sales share was 20%, down from 24% last month and 23% a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 15% share in March, unchanged from February, and down from 18% a year ago.

The March median sales price of $250,400 was up 5.8% from a year ago, representing the 73rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The March median condominium/co-op price of $236,100 was up 4.8% from a year ago.

The seasonal spring increase in demand is facing the combination of increasing mortgage rates and a tight inventory. However, the economy continues to add jobs, and new residential construction offers buyers a wider choice in homes. These prospective buyers contribute to builder confidence remaining in solid territory.



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