Existing-home sales increased 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This was the second consecutive monthly increase as activity expanded in the Northeast and Midwest. However, sales are still 1.2% below the March 2017 level.
“Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford.”
The total housing inventory rose 5.6% to 1.67 million homes available for sale, 7.2% lower than last March and the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year decline. The median existing home price was $250,400, up 5.8% from March 2017 ($236,600). This marks the 73rd straight month of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales were 4% of the total, unchanged from last month and down 2% from a year ago. Three percent of sales were foreclosures, and 1% were short sales.
Read the NAR release.