Analysis of March Existing Home Sales Reports - Less is More in March

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New analysis from provides insight on the most recent March existing home sales reports. The analysis consists of information that details market activity by region, the types of buyers that are closing on homes and the factors that are affecting today's home sales as well as sales figures for March.

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The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases.

The latest monthly home sales report analyzes data found in the NAR March Existing-Home Sales report. The report details key findings for existing home sales and forecasts what sellers and buyers are likely to experience in the coming months based up on the market activity in March.

The March Existing Home Sales Report shows the real estate market is continuing to experience slow, small gains in 2012. Although, some indicators from month to month may not appear to be positive on the surface, real estate agents and industry experts are optimistic given the year over year improvements. "The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun in the report released today.

Key Findings in the March 2012 Existing Home Sales Report Include:

  •     4.48 million existing home sales in March
  •     120,000 less home sales compared to last month after totals were revised upward
  •     5.2% higher than total home sales in March 2011
  •     Inventory was down 1.3% ending the month at 2.37 million
  •     Median existing home price increased to $163,800 for all types of homes
  •     Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 29% of the sales, down from 40% in March 2011
  •     33% of home buyers were first-time buyers
  •     21% of home buyers were investors
  •     32% were all cash sales

In March homes sales fell or remained unchanged compared to last month across all regions, but three out of four posted higher sales than the same time last year. The Midwest region sales were unchanged at 1.2 million. The West saw the largest decrease in sales at -7.4%, followed by the Northeast at -1.7% and the South at -1.1%. The median priced rose in the Midwest, South and West.

Top Factors Effecting Home Sales

  •     Declining inventory levels
  •     Home prices stabilizing but remaining affordable
  •     Sustained job growth
  •     Low mortgage interest rates

Though home sales were down, it was a direct correlation to the decrease in available inventory. March statistics suggest that the real estate market is stabilizing both in supply and demand as well as price. As the economy improves, more buyers are beginning to enter the market, especially given that prices seemed to have bottomed out in most areas. All this points to a more balanced market which lays the groundwork for improved conditions in the real estate industry overall in the coming months.

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Ace Elliott
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