A report released this morning by the National Association of Realtors showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales (due out tomorrow), rose by 1.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million units. That was the second monthly increase in a row and much better than expected. Regionally, existing home sales fell in the West (-3.1 percent) and the South (-0.4 percent) last month but rose in the Northeast (+6.3 percent) and the Midwest (+5.7 percent), helped by improved weather.
Total housing inventory jumped 5.7 percent in March to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, although that is still 7.2 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $250,400 in March, up 5.8 percent over the past year and therefore the 73rd consecutive month of annual growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, added that “The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford.” Another potential headwind to keep an eye on going forward is the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, which rose to an average of 4.47 percent last week, the highest reading since January 2014.
Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, Bloomberg, FRBSL
Post author: Charles Couch