Housing inventory registered at the end of March was 980,000 units

Washington – Existing-home sales edged lower in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Month-over-month sales declined in three out of four major U.S. regions, while sales in the Northeast remained steady. All regions posted year-over-year decreases.

Existing-home sales in the south receded 1% in March from Feb. to an annual rate of 2.07 million, a 20.4% decrease from the prior year. The median price in the South was $347,600, an increase of 0.3% from one year ago.

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales retreated 2.4% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million. Sales declined 22% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price dipped 0.9% from the previous year to $375,700.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes rose 1% from the prior month to 980,000 at the end of March or the equivalent of 2.6 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops fell 2.4% from Feb.  to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million in March.

Year-over-year, sales waned 22% (down from 5.69 million in March 2022).

“Home sales are trying to recover and are highly sensitive to changes in mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Yet, at the same time, multiple offers on starter homes are quite common, implying more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. It’s a unique housing market.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of March was 980,000 units, up 1.0% from Feb.  and 5.4% from one year ago (930,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from Feb. but up from two months in March 2022.

“Home prices continue to rise in regions where jobs are being added and housing is relatively affordable,” Yun noted. “However, the more expensive areas of the country are adjusting to lower prices.” 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $375,700, a decline of 0.9% from March 2022 ($379,300). Price climbed slightly in three regions but dropped in the West.
Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in March, down from 34 days in Feb.  but up from 17 days in March 2022. Sixty-five percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 28% of sales in March, up from 27% in Feb. but down from 30% in March 2022. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released in Nov. 2022, found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in March, down from 28% in Feb. and one year ago.

Individual investors or second homebuyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 17% of homes in March, down from 18% in Feb. and the previous year. Distressed sales, foreclosures and short sales, represented 1% of sales in March, nearly identical to last month and one year ago.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27% as of April 13. That’s down from 6.28% from the previous week but up from 5% one year ago.

“With overall consumer price inflation calming and rents expected to decelerate from robust apartment construction, the Fed’s monetary policy will surely shift from tightening to neutral to possibly loosening over the next 12 months,” Yun added. “Therefore, home sales will steadily rebound despite several months of fluctuations.”

Image by Freepik.

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