Existing-home sales slip 0.2% in March

Dropping 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, existing-home sales largely flatlined in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The March results are also 7.5% below year-ago levels.

The slight drop, which is down from 4.60 million in February, is the end result of sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest being canceled out by declines in the West and South.

“There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.”

The median existing-home price in March was $198,500, up 7.9% year-over-year. Total housing inventory rose 4.7% to 1.99 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 5.2-month supply.

Specifically, single-family home sales were the same in March as they were in February - 4.04 million -- which is 7.3% below year-ago levels. The median single-family home price was $198,200, up 7.4% since last year.

“With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly," added Yun.

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