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April 20, 2023

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The NAR reports existing-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million in March.

Declining 22% from one year ago, total existing-home sales, or completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, dropped 2.4% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports.

Three out of the four major U.S. regions saw month-over-month sales declines, while the Northeast remained steady. Year over year, all regions posted decreases, the total down from 5.69 million in March 2022.

"Home sales are trying to recover and are highly sensitive to changes in mortgage rates," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Yet, at the same time, multiple offers on starter homes are quite common, implying more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. It's a unique housing market."
At 980,000 for the end of March, the total housing inventory is up 1% from February and 5.4% from one year ago—unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace. The supply was unchanged from February but up from two months in March 2022.
"Home prices continue to rise in regions where jobs are being added and housing is relatively affordable," Yun states. "However, the more expensive areas of the country are adjusting to lower prices."

For all housing types, the median existing-home sales price declined 0.9% from March 2022 ($379,300) to $375,700. Prices dropped in the West but climbed slightly in three regions.

Up from 17 days in March 2022 but down from 34 days in February, properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in March, with 65% of homes sold on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers made up 28% of sales in March, down from 30% in March 2022 and up from 27% in February. All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in March, down from 28% in February and March 2022.

"With overall consumer price inflation calming and rents expected to decelerate from robust apartment construction, the Federal Reserve's monetary policy will surely shift from tightening to neutral to possibly loosening over the next 12 months," Yun adds. "Therefore, home sales will steadily rebound despite several months of fluctuations."

Single-family home sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.99 million in March, down 2.7% from 4.10 million in February and 21.1% from one year ago. Down 1.4% from March 2022, the median existing single-family home price was $380,000 last month.

Identical to February but down 28.6% from the previous year, existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 450,000 units in March. The median existing condo price was $337,300 in March, an annual increase of 2.1%.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged from February at an annual rate of 520,000 in March, but down 21.2% from March 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $395,400, up 1% from one year ago.

Falling 17.6% from the previous year, existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 5.5% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.03 million in March. The median price was $273,400, up 1.7% from March 2022.

The South's existing-home sales retreated 1% in March from February to an annual rate of 2.07 million, a 20.4% decrease from March 2022. An increase of 0.3% from one year ago, the median price in the South was $347,600.

In the West, existing-home sales fell 3.5% from the previous month to an annual rate of 820,000 in March, down 30.5% from a year ago. The median price was $565,400 in the West, down 7.5% from March 2022.

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