March 2018 produced the best existing home sales activity since November 2017. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales climbed to 5.6M or 1.1% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, sale prices were up +6% and inventory levels decreased an eye-popping -7%.
The median existing home price for all housing types in March 2018 was $250,400, a +5.8% rise from March 2017. All housing experts agree that this price increase is due to the low supply of existing sale homes.
Ruben Gonzalez, the chief economist for Keller Williams, said, “If inventory conditions remain restrictive, especially in entry-level homes, we expect to see home price appreciation accelerate.” Overall, Gonzalez anticipates that existing home sales will be at or slightly better than 2017 sales.
According to NAR, listed homes remained on the market for just 30 days in March 2018. More than half of homes sold were on the market for less than one month.
Lawrence Yun, the chief economist with NAR, said, “Realtor’s throughout the country are seeing a (spring selling) season ramp up in buyer demand but without the commensurate increase in new listings coming onto the market. As a result, competition (for listed homes) is swift and homes are going under contract in roughly a month, which is four days faster than last year and a remarkable 17 days faster than March 2016.”
The number of existing home sales increased +6.3% in the northeastern region of the country in March 2018. In the Midwest, existing home sales increased +5.7%. Sales of existing homes decreased in the south by -0.4% and dropped in the west by -3.1%.