US home sales shoot up to 10-year high


Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 5 percentage points to a SAAR of 630,000 units, 5 percentage points higher than a year ago.

Existing-home sales totaled 5.71 million last month, a 4.4 percent increase from February and 5.9 percent increase from one year prior. This is a robust recovery from February when sales advanced at a slightly downwardly-revised 5.47 million pace.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the month's existing-home sales show the resilience among consumers in the face of rising mortgage interest rates and tight inventory. The median sales price in March climbed 6.8 percent over the past year to $236,400, significantly outpacing wage growth.

Existing-home sales in the South and West covered less ground in March, with sales in the South rising 3.4 percent to 2.42 million, with a median price of $210,600, and sales in the West falling 1.6 percent to 1.22 million, with a median price of $347,500. "Sales will go up as long as inventory does".

"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", said Yun. At the current nationwide sales pace, it would take only 3.8 months to sell off the pool of available listings, the national Realtors said.

However increased competition caused homes to soar off the market as properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days previous year. In fact, 48% of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

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"A strong annual increase in existing home prices suggests that lower-priced, entry-level homes of the kind likely to be sought by first-time buyers are increasingly scarce", she added.

In the Northeast, existing-home sales jumped 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 760,000 million, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to help accommodate for seasonal variation; the annual rate for any given month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the pace for that month were maintained for a whole year. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, up 2.8% compared with last March.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million. The median price in the Midwest came in at $183,000, up 6.2% from a year ago. The median price for a single-family existing home was $237,000, while the median price for an existing condo was $224,700.

Investors made up 15% of all purchases, little changed from a year ago.