Existing home sales rose 5.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). March’s reading follows February’s revised rate of 5.07 million units.
“The choppiness in sales activity so far this year is directly related to the unevenness in the rate of new listings coming onto the market to replace what is, for the most part, being sold rather quickly,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Additionally, a segment of would-be buyers at the upper end of the market appear to have been spooked by January’s stock market correction.”
Annual sales of existing homes rose across all regions, rising most notably in the Northeast and Midwest, increasing by 11.1% and 9.8% respectively. Sales in the West grew by 1.8%, and sales in the South grew by 2.7%.
The median existing home price increased to $222,700, a 5.7% increase from March 2015.
Distressed sales fell 2 points to 8% of sales in March. Seven percent of the month’s sales were foreclosures while 1% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 16% and 10% respectively.