US existing home sales jump 4.4% in March to 10-year high
Washington (AFP) – Despite rising prices and tight inventories, sales of US existing homes rebounded in March, surging to the highest rate in 10 years, an industry group reported Friday.
Only one region, the western United States, saw sales decline, but that was not enough to dampen the nationwide increase of 4.4 percent in sales of houses, townhomes and apartments, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in its monthly report.
That beat the record set in January as the strongest sales since February 2007, and was 5.9 percent above a year ago.
Sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million last month from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February.
But severe supply shortages meant the typical home came off the market significantly faster than in February and a year ago.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said “a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market.”
And 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 median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $236,400, up 6.8 percent from the same month of last year, and the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of last month increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million, but it was still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago, and has fallen for 22 straight months.
Properties sold in March had typically stayed on the market for 34 days, down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago.