Economy

United States home sales rise shoot up to 10-year high

United States home sales rise shoot up to 10-year high

US home resales rose more than expected in March to the highest level in more than a decade as more homes came on the market and were quickly snapped up by consumers.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.71 million in March, according to NAR's report. This is a robust recovery from February when sales advanced at a slightly downwardly-revised 5.47 million pace.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 5.63 million rate.

The median sales price has risen 6.8 per cent from a year ago to $236,400, more than double the pace of average wage gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of last month increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million, but it was still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago, and has fallen for 22 straight months.

"The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month", NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. The result of this trend is prices rising faster than incomes, homes staying on the market for fewer days and a limit on just how much home sales can grow.

That beat the record set in January as the strongest sales since February 2007, and was 5.9 percent above a year ago. At the current nationwide sales pace, it would take only 3.8 months to sell off the pool of available listings, the national Realtors said. All told, 48 percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than one month.

March existing-home sales in the Northeast surged 10.1% year over year to an annual rate of 760,000, up 4.1% compared with March 2016. The price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

How did buying patterns vary across the country?

Sales were up 5.9 percent from a year before, based on seasonally adjusted annualized figures, and up 4.4 percent from February. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8% higher on the year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million. The median price in the Midwest was $183,000, up 6.2% from a year ago. Meanwhile, sales in the smaller and more volatile condo/co-op segment rose 5 percent to 630,000.

News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.

In the West, existing-home sales decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million.


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