Existing-Home Sales Spike in March

Total housing inventory2 at the end of March climbed 5.3 percent to 2.00 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 2.0 percent above a year ago (1.96 million).

The Luxonomist. 24/04/2015
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Apartment, New York – Manhattan. Click to buy

Existing-home sales jumped in March to their highest annual rate in 18 months, while unsold inventory showed needed improvement, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the Midwest, all major regions experienced strong sales gains in March and are above their year-over-year sales pace.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February – the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and are now 10.4 percent above a year ago, the highest annual increase since August 2013 (10.7 percent). March’s sales increase was the largest monthly increase since December 2010 (6.2 percent).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market appears to be off to an encouraging start this spring. «After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March,» he said. «The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years.»

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Existing-home sales jumped in March. National Association of Realtors®. Click for more information

Total housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.3 percent to 2.00 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 2.0 percent above a year ago (1.96 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.7 months in February.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in March was $212,100, which is 7.8 percent above March 2014. This marks the 37th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains and the largest since February 2014(8.8 percent).

«The modest rise in housing supply at the end of the month despite the strong growth in sales is a welcoming sign,» adds Yun. «For sales to build upon their current pace, homeowners will increasingly need to be confident in their ability to sell their home while having enough time and choices to upgrade or downsize. More listings and new home construction are still needed to tame price growth and provide more opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the market.»

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Apartment, New York – Manhattan. Click to buy

The percent share of first-time buyers was 30 percent in March, marking the third time since last March that the first-time buyer share was at or above 30 percent. First-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers last month; they were 30 percent in March 2014.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased in March for the second consecutive month, rising to 3.77 percent from 3.71 percent in February. Despite the slight increase, the monthly average is still below 4.00 percent for the fourth straight month.

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Apartment, New York – Manhattan. Click to buy

Single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.35 million in February, and are now 10.9 percent above the 4.14 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $213,500 in March, up 8.7 percent from March 2014.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in March from 540,000 units in February, and are now 7.1 percent higher than March 2014 (560,000 units). The median existing condo price was $201,400 in March, which is 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.

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