While the decline is not as large as the 6.6 percent drop between January and February, sales continued on a clear downward path that began in earlier this year. The median sales price, meanwhile, rose 17.2 percent to a historic high of $329,100 and sales overall rose 12.3 percent from 2020. This is the 109th straight month of annual price gains.
“Consumers are facing much higher home prices, rising mortgage rates, and falling affordability, however, buyers are still actively in the market,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “The sales for March would have been measurably higher, had there been more inventory. Days-on-market are swift, multiple offers are prevalent, and buyer confidence is rising.”
At the end of March, 1.07 million housing units remained on the market, up 3.9 percent from February but down 28.2 percent year over year. Unsold inventory clocked in at a 2.1-months supply at the current sales pace, down from a 3.3-months supply in March 2020. Lack of available homes on the market is the single biggest challenge affecting existing sales, a problem that has led many potential buyers to turn instead to homebuilding.
While existing-home sales for condos are up slightly, single-family sales are down 4.3 percent, to 5.3 million in March, as more people look to secure property outside of dense cities. All four regions of the country saw declines in existing sales and double-digit gains in median home prices. The most stark contrast took place in the Northeast, where existing-home sales fell 1.3 percent while the median price rose 21.4 percent to $364,800.
“Without an increase in supply, the society wealth division will widen with homeowners enjoying sizable equity gains while renters will struggle to become homeowners,” Yun said.