Home Sales Surge to 18-Month High
| April 23, 2015
The spring home sale season has finally sprung. Existing-home sales surged to the highest annual rate since September 2013. Also: More homes went up for sale, relieving some inventory constraints, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest report.
The Midwest posted the largest gains in home sales, but all regions saw a rise in March and are above their year-over-year sales pace, NAR reports.
“After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years.”
Existing-home sales—reflecting completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—rose 6.1 percent in March month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million—the highest annual rate in 18 months. Sales are now 10.4 percent above a year ago.
Home prices also climbed last month, with the median existing-home price for all housing types reaching $212,100 in March—7.8 percent higher than March 2014. That is the largest price increase since February 2014, when prices jumped 8.8 percent year-over-year.
More homes were on the market nationwide in March, with unsold inventories climbing 5.3 percent to 2 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 4.6-month supply. Inventories are now 2 percent above year-ago levels.
“The modest rise in housing supply at the end of the month despite the strong growth in sales is a welcome sign,” Yun says. “For sales to build upon the current pace, home owners will increasingly need to be confident in their ability to sell their home while having enough time and choices to upgrade or downsize. More listings and new-home construction are still needed to tame price growth and provide more opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the market.” The share of first-time buyers in March was 30 percent (historically, they represent a 40 percent share).
Source: National Association of Realtors