Existing Home Sales Slip

Existing home sales dropped in March as the cost of homebuying continues to worsen.

Sales fell by 4.3% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million. They were down 3.7% YOY.

The median existing sales price was up 4.8% YOY to $393,500, the highest price ever recorded for the month of March and the ninth consecutive monthly price gain.

“Though rebounding from cyclical lows, home sales are stuck because interest rates have not made any major moves,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “There are nearly six million more jobs now compared to pre-COVID highs, which suggests more aspiring home buyers exist in the market.”

Buyer demand metrics do appear to be up, though, with home tours and other buyer services seeing a boost in the last few weeks.

“Home sales are slower than usual, but there are still people buying and selling because if not now, when?” Connie Durnal, a Redfin agent in Dallas, noted.

Stock shortages have elevated demand for new construction despite higher prices, but construction slowed last month. As sellers are forced to reconsider their options, existing inventory – which tends to be cheaper – may dominate the market moving forward.

“Frankly, it’s a great time to list with ongoing multiple offers on mid-priced properties and, overall, home prices continuing to rise,” Yun added.

The inventory of unsold existing homes increased by 4.7% from the month prior to 1.11 million, the equivalent of 3.2 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.

Notably, sales took a hit in the South, Midwest, and West, while the Northeast registered higher numbers for the first time since last November. Pricey pandemic boomtowns and tech markets in the South and West have seen demand decline significantly compared to affordable Northeastern markets where inventory is less scarce.

Sales were down YOY in all regions.

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