Steel Markets

NAR: Existing-Home Sales Dipped Again in March

Written by David Schollaert

Existing-home sales fell in March for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Three out of the four major US regions saw sales fall month-over-month in March while holding steady in the West. Sales were down across each region year-over-year.

March sales fell 2.7% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million. Total registered sales were down by 4.5% from 6.04 million a year ago.

“The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double-digits.”

The median existing-home price rose 15.0% from March 2021 to $373,300. All regions posted increased pricing last month, marking the 121st straight month of year-over-year gains, and the longest-running streak on record.

“Home prices have consistently moved upward as supply remains tight,” said Yun. “However, sellers should not expect the easy-profit gains and should look for multiple offers to fade as demand continues to subside.”

Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 11.8% from February to 950,000 units but was down 9.5% from one year ago. Inventory is at a 2.0-month supply at the current sales pace. Properties averaged 17 days on the market in March, one day less than February’s total, and down 18 days from the same period a year ago.

NAR reports that 87% of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month. First-time buyers accounted for 30% of sales last month, up from 29% in February and down from 32% year on year.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.17% in March, up from 3.76% in the month prior. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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