US existing home sales hit 10-year high in March
(ShareCast News) - Sales of US existing home sales rose more than expected in March, to their highest pace in more than 10 years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
Sales were up 4.4% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.71m from a downwardly-revised 5.4m in February. March's sales pace is 5.9% above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007.
Economists had been expecting a rate of 5.63m.
Meanwhile, the median price for an existing home was $236,400, up 6.8% from March 2016's $221,400 and marking the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of March was up 5.8% to 1.83m existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.6% below a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist: "The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month. Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.
"Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year."