White home in suburbs with brick sidewalk
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Existing-home sales fell 4.3% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales declined in the Midwest, South, and West, but they increased in the Northeast for the first time since November. Year over year, sales decreased in all regions.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops—receded from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million in March. Year over year, sales decreased 3.7% or down from 4.35 million in March 2023.

"Though rebounding from cyclical lows, home sales are stuck because interest rates have not made any major moves," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "There are nearly 6 million more jobs now compared to pre-COVID highs, which suggests more aspiring home buyers exist in the market."

Total housing inventory registered at the end of March was 1.11 million units, up 4.7% from February and 14.4% from one year ago (970,000). Unsold inventory registers at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 2.9 months in February and 2.7 months in March 2023.

"More inventory is always welcomed in the current environment," Yun adds. "Frankly, it's a great time to list with ongoing multiple offers on mid-priced properties and, overall, home prices continuing to rise."

An increase of 4.8% from the previous year, the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $393,500, which is the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains and the highest price ever for the month of March. All four U.S. regions registered price gains. The median existing single-family home price was $397,200 in March, up 4.7% from March 2023.

“Home prices went up in March, even as fewer people bought homes and the inventory of unsold properties grew. This is an unusual combination, because normally you would expect prices to decline when supply rises and demand falls. But demand isn't really falling," says Holden Lewis, home and mortgage expert at NerdWallet. "Plenty of people want to buy homes, but high mortgage rates are forcing some of them to the sidelines. The remaining buyers have enough money to afford a home, and they are competing for the limited supply of homes and bidding prices upward.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 33 days in March, down from 38 days in February but up from 29 days in March 2023, according to the monthly Realtors Confidence Index.

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in March, up from 26% in February and 28% in March 2023. All-cash sales accounted for 28% of sales in March, down from 33% in February but up from 27% one year ago.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in March, down from 21% in February and 17% in March 2023. Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—represented 2% of sales in March, virtually unchanged from last month and the prior year.

Northeast existing-home sales climbed 4.2% from February to an annual rate of 500,000 in March, ending a four-month streak where sales in the Northeast registered 480,000 units. Compared with March 2023, home sales were down 3.8%. The median price in the Northeast was $434,600, up 9.9% from one year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 1.9% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.01 million in March, down 1% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $292,400, up 7.5% from March 2023.

Existing-home sales in the South fell 5.9% from February to an annual rate of 1.9 million in March, down 5% from the prior year. Up 3.4% from last year, the median price in the South was $359,100.

Existing-home sales in the West dropped 8.2% from a month ago to an annual rate of 780,000 in March, a decline of 3.7% from March 2023. The median price in the West was $603,000, up 6.7% from March 2023.