Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units in March from 5.01 million in February, and are 16.1% above the 4.61 million-unit level in March 2009.
Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 1.5% to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.5-month supply in February. Raw unsold inventory is 1.8% below a year ago, and is 21.7% below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
A NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 44% of homes in March, up from 42% in February. Investors accounted for 19% of transactions in March, unchanged from February; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales remain elevated at 27% in March, the same as in February. First-time buyers and investors generally hire inspectors.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,700 in March, up 0.4% from March 2009. Distressed homes, typically sold at a 15% discount, accounted for 35% of sales last month – unchanged from February.
Single-family home sales rose 7.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in March from a level of 4.36 million in February, and are 13.3% above the 4.13 million level a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $170,700 in March, up 0.6% from March 2009.
Single-family median prices rose in 14 out of 20 metropolitan statistical areas reported in March in comparison with a year earlier. Five metro areas experienced double-digit increases, including San Diego, St. Louis and Boston.
Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 3.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in March from 650,000 in February, and are 39.3% higher than the 481,000-unit level in March 2009. The median existing condo price was $170,600 in March, which is 0.7% below a year ago.
Northeast: Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 6.0% to an annual level of 890,000 in March and are 25.4% higher than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $249,800, up 8.9% from March 2009.
Midwest: Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 7.2% in March to a pace of 1.19 million and are 15.5% above March 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $139,300, up 0.2% from a year ago.
South: In the South, existing-home sales increased 7.1% to an annual level of 1.97 million in March and are 13.9% higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $154,800, up 5.2% from March 2009.
West: Existing-home sales in the West rose 6.6% to an annual rate of 1.30 million in March and are 14.0% above March 2009. The median price in the West was $209,400, down 7.9% from a year ago.