National Existing Home Sales Declined In March

Existing Home Sales were a disappointment in March, falling to a rate of 4.48 million. Analysts had expected sales to rise to 4.62 million units.

NAR reports:

WASHINGTON (April 19, 2012) – Existing-home sales were down in March but continue to outpace year-ago levels, while inventory tightened and home prices are showing further signs of stabilizing, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.60 million in February, but are 5.2 percent above the 4.26 million-unit pace in March 2011.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the recovery is in the process of settling into a higher level of home sales.  “The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases,” he said.  “Existing-home sales are moving up and down in a fairly narrow range that is well above the level of activity during the first half of last year.  With job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy, the pent-up demand is coming to market and we expect housing to be notably better this year.”

Total housing inventory at the end of March declined 1.3 percent to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.3-month supply at the current sales pace, the same as in FebruaryListed inventory is 21.8 percent below a year ago and well below the record of 4.04 million in July 2007.

“We were expecting a seasonal increase in home listings, but a lack of inventory has suddenly become an issue in several markets with not enough homes for sale in relation to buyer interest,” Yun said.  “Home sales could be held back because of supply factors and not by demand – we’re already seeing this in the Western states and in South Florida.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $163,800 in March, up 2.5 percent from March 2011.  Distressed homes– foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 29 percent of March sales (18 percent were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales), compared with 34 percent in February and 40 percent in March 2011.

Chart from Calculated Risk:

ehsmar2012 National Existing Home Sales Declined In March

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About Greg Fielding

I am a longtime real estate agent who has pretty much seen it all during the housing boom as bust. With experience in selling high-end property and low-end foreclosures, raw land, short sales, development work, apartment buildings, and working with investors, I bring a well-rounded perspective to my work.I also have started to do some paid real estate consulting. If you have questions or just need some good real estate advice, book an appointment at http://whattodorealestate.com/In addition to selling real estate, my insights have been featured in The New York Times, The Big Picture, and regularly on Patrick.net. I have also done consulting work with ForeclosureRadar.Starting my career, in 2003, I have sold homes throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties, specializing in Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and Orinda. I live in Danville with my three kids.


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One thought on “National Existing Home Sales Declined In March

  1. mikewilliamsenmikewilliamsen

    Low interest rates and low inventory are creating multiple offers on many properties. Buyers are finding the cost of homeownerhip fairly close to rental prices. I have never seen this in Marin in all my 30 years as an agent. Price point is stil the most critical factor, as many multiple offers are simply underpriced to create a buying flurry. I sense the spring fever of buying, which also a good indicator of a normal market.

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