Housing market stays tight as Spring buying season begins

New home listings down, competition fierce as spring market heats up

Housing market stays tight as Spring buying season begins

The spring home buying season is off to a sluggish start as new listings and contract volumes continue trending at multi-year seasonal lows, according to HouseCanary’s March Market Pulse Report.

The real estate data firm found that net new listings placed on the market in March were down 4.4% compared to March 2023, even as total housing inventory rose 12.6% year-over-year.

“Over the past month, net new listings and contract volumes have continued to trend at multi-year seasonal lows,” said HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick. “The interest rate shock is the biggest factor responsible for sustaining inventory scarcity.”

While higher mortgage rates have dampened home sales, robust buyer demand remains a constant factor pressuring limited supply.

“Robust demand has continued to drive home price increases for both listed and closed homes on a year-over-year basis,” Sicklick said in the report. “With rates and home prices continuing to rise, we expect a quieter spring buying season to continue throughout the months ahead.”

Over the last 52 weeks through March, there were over 2.53 million net new listings, down 12.4% year-over-year, while approximately 2.58 million properties went under contract, a 9.8% decline.

The 4.4% annual drop in March’s net new listings was driven by a 2.5% decrease in new listing volume coupled with a 7% jump in listing removals versus March 2023.

Despite low inventory, homes still sold relatively quickly last month, with the median days on the market at 37, down slightly from 38 days a year earlier.

Tight supply continued pushing home prices higher. The US median single-family listing price in March was $441,608, up 3.2% from a year ago, while the median closed price of $413,998 represented a 6.8% annual increase.

While some prospective sellers may be motivated to list by fading mortgage rates, a meaningful rebound in new listings could remain elusive until economic uncertainty abates.

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“The continued expectation that the Federal Reserve will introduce interest rate cuts in the months ahead offers potential homeowners a sense of hope, however, for now, buyers are facing a seller’s market,” Sicklick said.

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