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Existing-Home Sales Spring Ahead in March

Bolstered by big gains in the Northeast and Midwest, existing-home sales bounced back in March and remained slightly up from a year ago, 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, jumped 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February. Sales rose in all four major regions last month and are up modestly (1.5 percent) from March 2015.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home sales had a nice rebound in March following February’s uncharacteristically large decline. “Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest – overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home,” he said. “Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.”
The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in March was $222,700, up 5.7 percent from March 2015 ($210,700). March’s price increase marks the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory3 at the end of March increased 5.9 percent to 1.98 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 1.5 percent lower than a year ago (2.01 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.4 months in February.
The share of first-time buyers was 30 percent in March, unchanged both from February and a year ago. First-time buyers in all of 2015 also represented an average of 30 percent.

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