The number of homes for sale and the amount of time they’d typically been on the market both increased in March, “welcome signs” for spring buyers, reported today.

The number of homes listed for sale on rose 5.3 percent from February to March and 9.5 percent from a year ago, to 1.84 million.

In addition to enjoying a wider selection of homes, buyers also now appear to have more breathing room. The median age of inventory was up 22.9 percent from a year ago, to 102 days, down 10.5 percent from February.

The larger amount of inventory and slower selling times could make homes more affordable in some markets and reduce the frequency of bidding wars, said.

“While inventory is still low, the continuing annual lift in the number of homes on the market that we’ve seen over the first months of 2014 is an indicator that buying conditions this year may be notably improved from the frenzied pace of last spring,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of operator Move, in a statement. tempered its forecast by noting that home sales have stumbled in recent months. Pending home sales — a forward-looking indicator that predicts home sales — declined for the eighth straight month in February.

Five of the 10 markets that saw the largest inventory increases in March were in California, with Stockton-Lodi topping the chart.

Markets with the greatest percentage increase in year-over-year inventory in March 2014

Market YoY % increase in No. of listings, March 2014 No. of listings, March 2014
Stockton-Lodi, Calif. 68.6% 1,465
Orange County, Calif. 63.5% 10,072
Bakersfield, Calif. 57.3% 2,814
Orlando, Fla. 56.8% 14,060
Nashville, Tenn. 56.8% 15,752
Fresno, Calif. 56.7% 3,049
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. 53.5% 23,223
Rochester, N.Y. 53.3% 6,982
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. 52.8% 5,133
Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga. 49.9% 3,938


Markets that experienced the largest annual declines in March were largely concentrated in the middle of the country.

Markets with the greatest percentage decrease in year-over-year inventory in March 2014

Market YoY % change in No. of listings, March 2014 No. of listings, March 2014
Denver, Colo. -19.7% 5,586
Columbus, Ohio -16.2% 8,904
Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich. -12.5% 4,398
Austin-San Marcos, Texas -12.1% 6,970
Houston, Texas -12.0% 19,817
Wichita, Kan. -11.3% 2,727
York, Pa. -11.3% 2,308
Knoxville, Tenn. -10.9% 8,016
Akron, Ohio -10.2% 3,415
South Bend, Ind. -10.1% 1,507


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