Existing-Home Sales Fall 2.4% in March

Existing-home sales fell slightly worse than expected as inventory continues to remain below one million, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.

  • M-O-M: Total existing-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million in March, down 2.4% from February but still 11% higher than in January.
  • Y-O-Y: Existing home sales are still down 22.0% from the same time last year.

South On Top. Despite a 1.0% dip in March, the South held onto the top spot with 47% of existing-home sales happening in the southern region followed by the Midwest (23%) at number two and the West(18%) at number three.

  • The Northeast was the only region not in the red in March as the sale rate was unchanged from February at 520k (12%).

Prices Fall. In February, the median sales prices fell year-over-year for the first time in twelve years. Home prices continued their descent in March with the median sales price falling 0.9% to $375,700 thanks to a big drop in the West.

  • The West was the sole reason for the price drop as the median home price fell 7.5% to $565,400 in March.
  • The Midwest saw the median home prices rise 1.7% to $273,400, the Northeast was up 1.0% ($395,400) and the South was up 0.3% ($347.600).

Inventory. Housing inventory was up in March but remained under one million with 980,000 units. This is up 1.0% from February and is up 5.4% from one year ago.

  • Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from February but up from 2.0 months in March 2022.
  • Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in March, down from 34 days in February but up from 17 days in March 2022

Breaking It Down. In March, first-time buyers were responsible for 28% of sales and individual investors were responsible for 17%. All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions and distressed sales represented 1% of sales in March

Analysis. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, was optimistic about the next twelve months. “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…Therefore, home sales will steadily rebound despite several months of fluctuations.”