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, realtor.com reported today.
The number of homes listed for sale on realtor.com 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, realtor.com 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 realtor.com operator Move, in a statement.
Realtor.com 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
|Orange County, Calif.||63.5%||10,072|
|Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.||53.5%||23,223|
|Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.||52.8%||5,133|
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
|Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich.||-12.5%||4,398|
|Austin-San Marcos, Texas||-12.1%||6,970|
|South Bend, Ind.||-10.1%||1,507|