Existing home sales in the U.S. fell to their lowest level in more than 1-1/2 years in March, according to a Tuesday report from the National Association of Realtors.
The upside, analysts say, is that there were some indications that what has been a recent negative trend in the housing market may be showing signs of ending.
The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday that existing home sales dipped down 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million units, which was the lowest level since July 2012.
Even though the numbers were discouraging, the decline in resales was less than economists had forecast. Economists predicted a decrease to an annual 4.55-million rate.
Meanwhile, resales in the month of February was unrevised to 4.60 million units.
The numbers reflect those at the closing of contracts, with March’s sales reflecting contracts signed in January and February. Some economists continue to scapegoat winter weather, stating the country was in the grip of an unusually cold and snowy winter.
However, even if they factor the terrible weather, the housing market has been more than sluggish since last summer, when mortgage rates showed just how violatile the sector remains. Resales have been trending lower since last August, prior to the winter weather and actually ticked up momentarily in the month of December. Compared to March of last year, sales were off by 7.5 percent.
Higher-than-usual prices and a lack of properties sidelined many potential buyers.