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Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeNewsEconomyExisting Home Sales Climb 4.4% in March, Strongest Since January 2007

Existing Home Sales Climb 4.4% in March, Strongest Since January 2007

existing homes sales reuters
existing homes sales reuters

(Photo: REUTERS)

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing home sales climbed 4.4% in March fueled by big gains in the Northeast and Midwest. Existing home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February.

“The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

The pace in March is 5.9% above levels one year ago and surpassed January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007, when it was 5.79 million. The median existing home price for all housing types in March came in at $236,400, up 6.8% from March 2016 when it was $221,400. The price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

“Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year,” Mr. Yun added.

The Northeast increased sharply by 10.1% to an annual rate of 760,000 and are now 4.1% above levels a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8% higher on the year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales also increased significantly by 9.2% to an annual rate of 1.31 million and are now 3.1% higher than last year. The median price in the Midwest came in at $183,000, up 6.2% from a year ago.

In the South, existing home sales rose 3.4% to an annual rate of 2.42 million and are 8.5% above March of 2016, while the median price was $210,600, up 8.6% from a year ago.

The West fell 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, though they are still 5.2% higher than they were a year ago. The median price in the West was $347,500, up 8% from March 2016.

“Last month’s swift price gains and the remarkably short time a home was on the market are directly the result of the homebuilding industry’s struggle to meet the dire need for more new homes,” Mr. Yun concluded. “A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy.”

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PPD Business, the economy-reporting arm of People's Pundit Daily, is "making sense of current events." We are a no-holds barred, news reporting pundit of, by, and for the people.

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