April 22, 2014

Existing-home sales decreased 0.2% in March

April 23, 2014 – Existing-home sales decreased 0.2 percent nationwide in March to an annualized, seasonally adjusted 4.59 million units, according to data published by the National Association of Realtors and analyzed by NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman.

"Rising mortgage interest rates, limited housing inventory, severe winter weather and tighter credit all contributed to slow sales in March," Christman said in a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report.

Year over year, existing-home sales were down 7.1 percent.

Sales increased in two of the four regions from February to March. The Northeast increased the most with a gain of 9.1 percent, followed by the Midwest (4 percent). The West decreased the most with a decline of 3.7 percent, followed by the South (-3 percent).

The months of available inventory increased to 5.2 months of supply in March from five months of supply in February. March's figure for months of supply was 7.9 percent higher than last year at this time.

The median existing-home price increased from a revised $188,300 in February to $198,500 (not seasonally adjusted) in March. That's up from $184,000 a year ago, but down from the summer peak due to seasonal factors.

"Year-over-year median home prices continue to rise as the housing inventory remains tight and the number of distressed homes on the market decreases," Christman said. "Existing-home sales reflect completed sales of contracts that were signed in January and February during the severe winter weather, and are expected to improve as warmer weather brings more buyers to the market."