Existing-home sales eased in March from inventory constraints, which continued to pressure home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in March from a downwardly revised 4.95 million in February, but remain 10.3 percent higher than the 4.46 million-unit pace in March 2012.
Sales have been above year-ago levels for 21 consecutive months, while prices show 13 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there is more demand than supply in the current market. "Buyer traffic is 25 percent above a year ago when we were already seeing notable gains in shopping activity," he said. "In the same timeframe housing inventories have trended much lower, which is continuing to pressure home prices. The good news is home construction is rising and low mortgage rates are continuing to keep affordability conditions at historically favorable levels. The bad news is that underwriting standards remain excessively tight, while renters are getting squeezed by higher rents."
Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 1.6 percent to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply 2 at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in February. Listed inventory remains 16.8 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply.
Read full press release from NAR