Existing Home Sales - May Report
Last Updated: 6/2/2015
Home Sales Pace
Existing U.S. homes sales made a leap to their highest sales pace in a year-and-a-half in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, with home prices and inventory rebounding as well.
Sales of existing homes rose 6.1 percent in March to a total of 5.19 million – the highest pace since September 2013 – up from 4.89 million in February. On a yearly basis, sales are up 10.4 percent.
The median price for existing-homes grew to $212,100, up from February’s $201,900 and up 7.8 percent from March 2014. Prices have now increased on a year-over-year basis for the past 37 months.
"After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."
The NAR defines existing homes as all previously-owned single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and co-ops. The group “seasonally adjusts” the sales numbers to factor in things like inclement weather, school sessions, winter holidays, etc. to smooth out the trends.
The NAR also describes its sales data based on an annual pace. The monthly figure represents the total number of housing units that would be sold in one year if the current rate were to continue unchanged.
Sales Pace by Region
Led by a dramatic rise in the Midwest, sales increased in every region of the country in March. In the Northeast, sales rose 6.9 percent to an annual level of 620,000, up from 580,000 in February and up 1.6 percent from the year before.
Sales in the Midwest picked up by 10.1 percent to an annual level of 1.20 million, up from 1.09 million a month earlier and up 12.1 percent from March 2014.
In the South, home sales grew 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.19 million in March, up from 2.11 million in February and up 11.7 percent from the previous year.
In the West, sales increased 6.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.18 million, up from February’s 1.11 million and up 11.3 percent from a year ago.
Sales Price by Region
Prices rose everywhere but the Northeast in March. In the Northeast the median price fell to $240,500, down from $241,500 in February and down 1.6 percent from March 2014.
Prices in the Midwest rose to $163,600, up from $152,900 the month before and up 9.7 percent from a year earlier.
In the South, the median price grew to $187,900, up from $177,600 in February. Prices were also up 9.3 percent there from the year before.
The West also saw its median price rise, increasing to $305,000, up from February’s $288,600 and up 8.3 percent compared March 2014.
The total number of homes on the market by the end of April rose 5.3 percent to 2.00 million existing properties, a 2.0 percent increase from a year earlier. At the current sales pace there is a 4.6-month supply of homes available. Realtors consider the market to be balanced between supply and demand when there is a 6-month supply of homes for sale.
Data for April existing-home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of May.