Existing-home sales sink in March

by Candyd Mendoza24 Apr 2019

After home sales surged in February, the National Association of Realtors reported a drop-off in existing-home sales in March.

Sales in each of the four major US regions fell, and the Midwest saw the biggest decline last month, according to NAR.

Total existing-home sales and completed transactions, including single-family homes, condominiums, and co-ops, sank 4.9% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million in March. Overall, sales dipped 5.4% from 5.51 million in March last year.

"It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized."

The median existing-home price for all housing types in March inched up 3.8% to $259,400 from $249,800 in March 2018. The price increase marked the 85th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Yun projected tax policy changes to add more problems for the housing sector.

"The lower-end market is hot while the upper-end market is not. The expensive home market will experience challenges due to the curtailment of tax deductions of mortgage interest payments and property taxes," he said.