Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Existing Home Sales Climb 4.4% in March, Strongest Since January 2007

A house recently sold in Boise Ohio home sales jumped in March, as buyers pounced faster across the country
Nellie Chapman | 21 April, 2017, 19:41

Sales of United States existing home sales rose more than expected in March, to their highest pace in more than 10 years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.71 million in March, according to NAR's report.

Home sales jumped in the Buckeye State and across the nation during March, as buyers - apparently undeterred by rising prices - pounced faster.

"The sales activity in March is a welcomed start to the traditional home-buying season", Pete Kopf, the association's president, said in a news release.

The report said the median existing home price for all housing types was USD236,400 in March, up 3.6% from USD228,200 in February and up 6.8% from USD221,400 in the same month a year ago. Listing shortages are an ongoing source of frustration for the housing industry, since sales might be higher if buyers weren't struggling to find available homes in desirable locations at palatable price points.

Short sales stayed on the market an average of 90 days in March as foreclosures usually sold in about 52 days. "Sales may be soaring, but inventory isn't".

"Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year", Yun said.

According to a recent realtor.com study, homes are flying off the market at a dizzying pace, selling eight days quicker this spring.

At March's sales pace, it would take 3.8 months to clear the stock of houses on the market, unchanged from February.

All homes were on the market for an average of 34 days in March, down from 45 days in February and down from 47 days in March 2016. All told, 48 percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than one month. The price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Absent more homebuilding, he added, "prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy". Existing-home sales in the Midwest showed a similar path, up 9.2 percent to 1.31 million, with a median price of $183,000. In the West, sales fell by 1.6%.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun called the first quarter "a good beginning" to 2017 despite the ongoing headwinds of inventory and higher prices. First-time home buyers also made little progress, accounting for 32% of the market.