Redfin: Homes Sold Faster Than Ever in April

Home prices gained as sales were constrained by a double-digit inventory dip

The typical home that sold last month went under contract in just 40 days, and the market is likely to accelerate further

Seattle, WA – May 18th 2017 (Red Fin) U.S. home prices rose 6.2 percent to a median sale price of $280,000 in April, according to Redfin (www.redfin.com), the next-generation real estate brokerage. Home sales inched up 1.2 percent over last year, constrained by a shortage in the supply of homes. The number of homes for sale fell 13.3 percent, the steepest decline in four years, marking 19 straight months of annual declines.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here.

The typical home went under contract in 40 days, 10 days faster than a year earlier, making April the fastest month on record since Redfin began tracking the market in 2010. One in five homes (22.2%) that sold in April went under contract within two weeks of their debut. One in four (24.7%) homes sold above their list price, which is the highest percentage Redfin has recorded.
“When it comes to the housing market breaking records, I’m beginning to sound like a broken record,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin chief economist. “The market tends to accelerate through June so I wouldn’t be surprised if new records for speed and competition are reached in May and June given what we are seeing now. The only record this market can’t break is sales. You need more inventory for that!”

Regional April Highlights

Competition

  • Denver, CO was the fastest market, with nearly half of all homes going under contract in just 6 days, down from 11 days a year earlier. Seattle, WA was the next fastest market with 7 median days on market, followed by Portland, OR and Tacoma, WA at 10 days.
  • The most competitive market in April was San Jose, CA where 75.4% of homes sold above list price, followed by 69.5% in San Francisco, CA, 69.4% in Oakland, CA, 62.1% in Seattle, WA, and 52.4% in Tacoma, WA. In sharp contrast, 0.0% of homes in Kansas City, MO sold above the list price.

Prices

  • Milwaukee, WI had the nation’s highest price growth, up 18.2% since last year to $208,000. Greenville, SC had the second highest price growth at 17.6% year-over-year, followed by Seattle, WA (17.4%), Deltona, FL (14.8%), and Tampa, FL (13.8%).
  • 2 metros saw price declines in April: Baton Rouge, LA (-1.2%), and Greensboro, NC (-1%).

Sales

  • 18 out of 90 metros saw sales surge by double digits from last year. Poughkeepsie, NY led the nation in year-over-year sales growth, up 36%, followed by Baltimore, MD, up 31%. Camden, NJ rounded out the top three with sales up 28% from a year ago.
  • Home sales in Buffalo, NY and Ogden, UT declined by 19.4% and 19.3%, respectively.
    • Inventory

      • Rochester, NY had the largest decrease in overall inventory, falling 37.8% since last April. Seattle, WA (-35.3%), Buffalo, NY (-32.8%), and Rochester, NH (-30.8%) also saw far fewer homes available on the market than a year ago.
      • Fort Myers, FL had the highest increase in the number of homes for sale, up 29.2% year over year, followed by Knoxville, TN (19.7%) and Austin, TX (12.4%).

      To read the full report, complete with data and charts, please visit the following link: www.redfin.com.

      About Redfin

      Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the next-generation real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 80 major metro areas across the U.S. The company has closed more than $40 billion in home sales through 2016.

      Contacts

      Redfin Journalist Services:
      Alina Ptaszynski
      (206) 588-6863
      press@redfin.com

California Pending Home Sales Lose Steam for Fourth Straight Month in April, C.A.R. Reports

Los Angeles, CA – May 24, 2017 (PRNewswire-USNewswire) Consistent with the slowdown in April’s closed escrow sales, which declined from the previous month and year, low housing inventory and eroding affordability suppressed pending home sales for the fourth straight month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

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C.A.R.’s April Market Pulse Survey** saw mixed results as REALTORS® reported an increase in floor calls for the fourth straight month, but less open house traffic, and no change in listing appointment activity compared with the previous month.

Pending home sales data:

  • Based on signed contracts, year-over-year statewide pending home sales declined for the fourth straight month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* declining 7.4 percent from 122.8 in April 2016 to 113.7 in April 2017. On a monthly basis, California pending home sales increased 5.9 percent from the March index of 107.4.
  • April’s year-over-year pending sales decline is the largest since July 2014, when sales decreased 9.1 percent from the previous year. The quickening pace of pending sales declines provides further evidence that the typically busy spring home buying season may underperform, primarily due to demand outstripping the supply of active listings, which was 10.5 percent lower than in April a year ago.
  • At the regional level, Southern California was the most resilient region in the state, where pending sales held on for a modest decline of 2.8 percent, aided in large part by a 2 percent increase in Riverside County and a 1.1 percent uptick in Orange County. San Diego posted a double-digit decline of 11.1 percent. Los Angeles County saw pending sales decline 4.7 percent, and San Bernardino pending sales fell 4 percent.
  • At the opposite end of the spectrum, the San Francisco Bay Area bore the brunt of the slowdown. On a year over year basis, pending sales in April were 17.1 percent below where they were in April 2016. San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara all posted double-digit declines in pending sales (down 16.1 percent, 12.2 percent, 14.6 percent, respectively) as inventories remained between 1.8 and 2 months of supply with median prices of more than $1 million.
  • The Central Valley also posted a double-digit decline of 11.2 percent in April. Despite the rebounding energy sector and relative affordability, Kern County saw pending sales shrink by 15.5 percent from April 2016. However, Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Merced were already seeing closed sales begin to stumble back in March, and this weak reading on pending sales suggests that the sluggishness of sales will persist in the Central Valley over the near term as well.
  • In C.A.R.’s newest market indicator of future price appreciation, Market Velocity – home sales relative to the number of new listings coming on line each month to replenish that sold inventory – suggests that price growth will begin to accelerate this summer. With demand remaining strong and inventories tightening further, price pressure will get more intense over the next six months and that median price growth may accelerate into the high single digits through the fall. Market Velocity is strongly correlated with increases/decreases in price growth with a roughly three- to six-month lag time.

Year-to-Year Change in Pending Sales by County/Region

Chart

April REALTOR® Market Pulse Survey**:

Entering the spring homebuying season, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s April Market Pulse Survey said their expectations for market conditions of the next year declined from April as they experienced less open house traffic, fewer multiple offers, more price reductions, and no change in listing appointment activity compared with March.

  • The share of homes selling above asking price dipped from 32 percent a year ago to 31 percent in April, while the share of properties selling below asking price slipped to 38 percent from 40 percent in April 2016. The remaining 31 percent sold at asking price, up from 28 percent in April 2016.
  • For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price was essentially unchanged from a year ago, at 10 percent.
  • The 38 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 17 percent below asking price in April, compared to 12 percent a year ago.
  • The share of properties receiving multiple offers declined in April after trending higher for three straight months. About two-thirds of properties sold (68 percent) received multiple offers in April, down from 69 percent in April 2016.
  • The share of properties receiving three or more offers in April was 44 percent, compared to 45 percent a year ago.
  • Only homes priced $500,000-$749,000 and $2 million and higher posted gains in receiving three or more offers compared with last year, rising from 53 percent to 61 percent, and 50 percent and 63 percent, respectively.
  • After falling for four consecutive months, listing price reductions rose to 26 percent in April, up from 23 percent in April 2016.
  • A lack of available inventory continued to be the top concern for 48 percent of REALTORS®, the highest level recorded. Eroding housing affordability/high interest rates concerned 19.5 percent of REALTORS®. Inflated home prices/housing bubble was cited by 19.5 percent of REALTORS®. A slowdown in economic growth, lending and financing, and policy and regulations rounded out REALTORS®’ remaining biggest concerns.
  • REALTORS®’ expectations of market conditions over the next year remained high at an index of 64, up from an index of 60 a year ago.

Graphics (click links to open):

*Note: C.A.R.’s pending sales information is generated from a survey of more than 70 associations of REALTORS® and MLSs throughout the state. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, offering solid information on future changes in the direction of the market. A sale is listed as pending after a seller has accepted a sales contract on a property. The majority of pending home sales usually become closed sales transactions one to two months later. The year 2008 was used as the benchmark for the Pending Homes Sales Index. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2008.

**C.A.R.’s Market Pulse Survey is a monthly online survey sent to more than 10,000 California REALTORS® to measure data about their last closed transaction and sentiment about business activity in their market area for the previous month. More than 400 REALTORS® responded.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 190,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Existing-Home Sales Slip 2.3 Percent in April; Days on Market Falls to Under a Month

Washington, D.C. – May 24, 2017 (nar.realtor) Stubbornly low supply levels held down existing-home sales in April and also pushed the median number of days a home was on the market to a new low of 29 days, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

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Total existing-home sales(1), which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dipped 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in April from a downwardly revised 5.70 million in March. Despite last month’s decline, sales are still 1.6 percent above a year ago and at the fourth highest pace over the past year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says every major region except for the Midwest saw a retreat in existing sales in April. “Last month’s dip in closings was somewhat expected given that there was such a strong sales increase in March at 4.2 percent, and new and existing inventory is not keeping up with the fast pace homes are coming off the market,” he said. “Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it’s stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase.”

The median existing-home price(2) for all housing types in April was $244,800, up 6.0 percent from April 2016 ($230,900). April’s price increase marks the 62nd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory(3) at the end of April climbed 7.2 percent to 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 9.0 percent lower than a year ago (2.12 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 23 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.6 months a year ago.

Infographic

“Realtors® continue to voice the frustration their clients are experiencing because of the insufficient number of homes for sale,” added Yun. “Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets, and when one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in April, which is down from 34 days in March and 39 days a year ago, and surpasses last May (32 days) as the shortest timeframe since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 88 days in April, while foreclosures sold in 46 days and non-distressed homes took 28 days. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month (a new high).

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in April were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 23 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 25 days; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., 27 days; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 28 days.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined for the first time in six months, dipping to 4.05 percent in April from 4.20 percent in March. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

“Mortgage rates have been stuck in a holding pattern in recent months, which is a relief for spring homebuyers,” said Yun. “With price growth showing little sign of slowing, prospective first-time buyers will be the most sensitive to any sudden uptick in rates in the months ahead.”

Matching the highest percentage since last September, first-time buyers were 34 percent of sales in April, which is up from 32 percent both in March and a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016(4) – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says it’s not only prospective homebuyers who are facing housing issues; many middle-income homeowners who benefit from the mortgage interest deduction could be slapped with a tax increase if some of the tax reform proposals currently being discussed go through. A recently released study commissioned by NAR titled, “Impact of Tax Reform Options on Owner-Occupied Housing,” (link is external) estimated taxes would rise on average by $815 each year for homeowners with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $200,000. Furthermore, home values could shrink by an average of more than 10 percent, with areas with higher property taxes or state income taxes experiencing an even steeper decline.

“Realtors® support tax reform, but any plan that effectively nullifies the current tax benefits of owning a home is a non-starter for the roughly 75 million homeowners and countless prospective first-time buyers that see owning a home as part of their American Dream,” said Brown. Thousands of Realtors® took this message to Capitol Hill last week during NAR’s annual legislative meetings in Washington, D.C.

All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in April, down from 23 percent in March and 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in April, unchanged from March but up from 13 percent a year ago. Fifty-seven percent of investors paid in cash in April.

Distressed sales(5) – foreclosures and short sales – were 5 percent of sales in April, down from 6 percent in March and 7 percent a year ago. Three percent of April sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in April (16 percent in March), while short sales were discounted 12 percent (14 percent in March).

Members of the media are invited to attend the upcoming Sustainable Homeownership Conference on June 9 at University of California’s Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. In celebration of National Homeownership Month, the conference brings together experts to examine housing trends and real estate’s positive impacts. NAR’s Brown and Yun and Berkeley Hass Real Estate Group Chair Ken Rosen are among the prominent experts scheduled to speak. To register contact Adam DeSanctis, 202-383-1178 or adesanctis@realtors.org (link sends e-mail).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales decreased 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.95 million in April from 5.07 million in March, but are still 1.6 percent above the 4.87 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $246,100 in April, up 6.1 percent from April 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 units in April, but are still 1.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $234,600 in April, which is 5.6 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
April existing-home sales in the Northeast dipped 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 730,000, and are now 2.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $267,700, which is 1.6 percent above April 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.36 million in April, but are 0.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $194,500, up 7.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in fell 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 2.30 million, but are still 3.6 percent above April 2016. The median price in the South was $217,700, up 7.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million in April, but are still 3.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $358,600, up 6.8 percent from April 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1. Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2. The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3. Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4. Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 .Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for April is scheduled for release on May 31, and Existing-Home Sales for May will be released June 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

NAR Midyear Forecast: Existing-Home Sales Poised to Climb 3.5 Percent in 2017

Washington, D.C. – May 18, 2017 (nar.realtor) The multi-year stretch of robust job gains along with improving household confidence are expected to guide existing-home sales to a decade high in 2017, but supply and affordability headwinds and modest economic growth are holding back sales and threatening to keep the nation’s low homeownership rate subdued. That’s according to speakers at a residential real estate forum here at the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

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Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, presented his 2017 midyear forecast and was joined onstage by Jonathan Spader, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, and Mark Calabria, chief economist and assistant to Vice President Mike Pence. Spader’s presentation addressed past and projected movements in the homeownership rate, and Calabria dove into why reversing weak productivity and the low labor force participation rate are necessary to boost the economy.

The first quarter was the best quarterly existing sales pace in exactly a decade (5.62 million), and Yun expects activity to stay on track and finish around 5.64 million – the best since 2006 (6.47 million) and 3.5 percent above 2016. With several metro areas seeing hefty price growth, the national median existing-home price is expected to rise around 5 percent this year.

“The housing market has exceeded expectations ever since the election, despite depressed inventory and higher mortgage rates,” said Yun. “The combination of the stock market being at record highs, 16 million new jobs created since 2010, pent-up household formation and rising consumer confidence are giving more households the assurance and ability to purchase a home.”

Although sales are currently running at a decade high, Yun believes the healthy labor market should be generating even more activity. However, listings in the lower- and mid-market price range are scant and selling fast, and homebuyers are discovering they can afford less of what’s on the market based on their income.

“We have been under the 50-year average of single-family housing starts for 10 years now,” said Yun. “Limited lots, labor shortages, tight construction lending and higher lumber costs are impeding the building industry’s ability to produce more single-family homes. There’s little doubt first-time buyer participation would improve and the homeownership rate would rise if there was simply more inventory.”

Housing construction has been uneven so far this year, but Yun does anticipate starts to jump 8.4 percent to 1.27 million. However, this is still under the 1.5 million new homes needed to make up for the insufficient building in recent years. New single-family home sales are likely to total 620,000 this year, up 8.4 percent from 2016.

Addressing the nation’s low homeownership rate, Spader said substantial uncertainty exists about its future direction. He cited foreclosure-related housing exits from older adults and delayed buying from younger households as the primary causes in the downward trend since the downturn. He said the good news is that while there was growth in homeowner households in 2016, an aging population, changes in family type and increasing diversity by race and ethnicity all pose as headwinds going forward. Spader’s 2025 projection puts the homeownership rate in a range of 61.0 – to – 65.1 percent.

“Stagnant household incomes, rising rental costs, student loan debt and limited supply have all contributed to slower purchasing activity,” said Spader. “When the homeownership rate stabilizes, there will be an increase in homeowner households. Young and minority households’ ability to reach the market will play a big role in how much the actual rate can rise in coming years.”

Calabria’s presentation focused on his thoughts of what can be done to jump-start economic growth. He attributed prolonged weak productivity and the low labor participation rate as the primary reasons why the current economic expansion is the slowest since World War II.

“A strong labor market will drive a strong housing market, but you can’t have a strong housing market without a strong economic foundation,” said Calabria. “The recovery has been uneven with roughly 70 counties making up roughly half of all job growth. The White House’s proposed plans to cut corporate and individual tax cuts will help large and small businesses grow, hire and ultimately contribute to more households buying homes as more money goes into their pockets.”

Although Yun said economic growth in the first quarter was “a huge disappointment” at 0.7 percent (first estimate), he anticipates that an increase in consumer spending and more homebuilding should provide enough fuel for gross domestic product to finish slightly higher, at 2.2 percent, than a year ago (1.6 percent).

Yun believes the rising interest rate environment is here to stay as the Federal Reserve slowly begins unwinding its balance sheet. He foresees two more short-term rate hikes by the end of this year and for mortgage rates to average around 4.30 percent before gradually climbing towards 5.0 percent by the end of 2018.

“There was a lot of uncertainty at the start of the year, but a very strong first quarter sets the stage for a modest sales increase compared to last year,” said Yun. “However, prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes. That is why housing starts need to rise to alleviate supply shortages. There will be more sales if there’s a meaningful bump in new and existing inventory.”

Members of the media are invited to attend the upcoming Sustainable Homeownership Conference on June 9 at University of California’s Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. In celebration of Homeownership Month, the conference brings together experts to examine housing trends and real estate’s positive impacts. 2017 NAR President Bill Brown, NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun and Berkeley Hass Real Estate Group Chair Ken Rosen are among the prominent experts scheduled to speak. To register, visit www.nar.realtor.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for April will be released May 24, and the Pending Home Sales Index for April will be released May 31; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March

Washington, D.C. – April 21, 2017 (PRNewswire) Existing-home sales took off in March to their highest pace in over 10 years, and severe supply shortages resulted in the typical home coming off the market significantly faster than in February and a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the West saw a decline in sales activity in March.

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Total existing-home sales(1)(click here), which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February. March’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales roared back in March and were led by hefty gains in the Northeast and Midwest. “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,” he said. “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.”

The median existing-home price(2) for all housing types in March was $236,400, up 6.8 percent from March 2016 ($221,400). March’s price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory(3) at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).

Added Yun, “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.”

NAR March Housing Snapshot Infographic

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 90 days in March, while foreclosures sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 32 days (shortest since NAR began tracking in May 2011). Forty-eight percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in March were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 24 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 25 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., both at 28 days; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., 31 days.

“Last month’s swift price gains and the remarkably short time a home was on the market are directly the result of the homebuilding industry’s struggle to meet the dire need for more new homes,” said Yun. “A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose for the fifth straight month in March to 4.20 percent from 4.17 percent in February. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in March, which is unchanged from February and up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016(4) – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says patience is virtue for prospective first-time buyers this spring. “Realtors® in most markets are saying interest from first-timers is up this year, but competition is stiff for listings in their price range,” he said. “The best advice is to lean on the guidance of a Realtor® throughout the home search and be careful about stretching the budget too far. Don’t get frustrated by losing out on a home and know the right one will eventually come along in due time.”

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in March, down from 27 percent in February and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in March, down from 17 percent in February but up from 14 percent a year ago. Sixty-three percent of investors paid in cash in March.

Distressed sales(5) – foreclosures and short sales – were 6 percent of sales in March, down from 7 percent in February and 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of March sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in March (18 percent in February), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (17 percent in February).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in March from 4.87 million in February, and are now 6.1 percent above the 4.79 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $237,800 in March, up 6.6 percent from March 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in March, and are now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $224,700 in March, which is 8.0 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

March existing-home sales in the Northeast surged 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, and are now 4.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8 percent above March 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in March, and are now 3.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $183,000, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in March rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.42 million, and are now 8.5 percent above March 2016. The median price in the South was $210,600, up 8.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, but are still 5.2 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $347,500, up 8.0 percent from March 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1. Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2. The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3. Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 .Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors®Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for March is scheduled for release on April 27, and Existing-Home Sales for April will be released May 24; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab.

Strong March Home Sales, Low Inventory Means Tougher Market for Buyers

RE/MAX National Housing Report on MLS Data from 53 Metro Areas

Denver, CO – April 14, 2017 (PRNewswire) March launched the home-buying season with post-recession records for increasing home sales and prices and decreasing inventory, according to this month’s RE/MAX National Housing Report that surveys 53 metro areas.

Last month, home sales were 6.6% higher than the nine-year-old report’s previous March record, set in 2016. Thirty-eight of the 53 metro areas in the report showed year-over-year increases.

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Meanwhile, Months Supply of Inventory dropped below three months for the first time in the history of the report, indicating a market that greatly favors sellers, as six months is considered a balanced market.

Active inventory continued to decline, dropping 17% year-over-year. As a result, the Median Sales Price of $225,000—also a March record—was up 11% year-over-year. This was the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Homes continued selling faster last month, with the average Days on Market dropping to 64, compared to 68 in February 2017 and 71 in March 2016. For this month’s housing report infographic, click here.

REMAX National Housing Report April 2017 Infographic

“We expect a seasonal uptick in sales this time of year and March certainly met and somewhat exceeded that expectation,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. “We don’t anticipate the tightening inventory to ease up in most markets until new home construction can catch up to its pre-recession pace. Until then, sellers will enjoy a fast-paced market and buyers will need to work with their agents to get in the right home.”

Closed Transactions
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in March 2017, the overall average number of home sales increased 6.6% compared to March 2016. Of the 53 metro areas, 38 experienced an increase in sales year-over-year, with 16 experiencing double-digit increases. The markets with the largest increase in sales included Richmond, VA +23.3%, Wilmington/Dover, DE +22.6%, Trenton, NJ +19.7%, Las Vegas, NV +15.3% and Chicago, IL +14.8%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In March 2017, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $225,000, up 7.1% from February 2017 and up 11.0% from March 2016. Only four metro areas saw year-over-year decreases, with 15 rising by double-digit percentages. The largest double-digit increases were seen in Manchester, NH +15.9%, Orlando, FL +13.7%, Charlotte, NC +13.3%, Trenton, NJ +12.8% and Nashville, TN +12.8%.

Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in March 2017 was 64, down four days from the average in February 2017, and down seven days from the March 2016 average. The three metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were San Francisco, CA and Omaha, NE both at 27 and Denver, CO at 32. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, ME at 159 and Burlington, VT at 118. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in March 2017 was up 1.2% from February 2017, but down 17.0% from March 2016. Based on the rate of home sales in March, the Months Supply of Inventory was 2.7, compared to February 2017 at 3.6 and March 2016 at 3.2. This is the first time in the history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report that months supply has hit below 3.0. A 6.0-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In March 2017, 52 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply of less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. At 6.3, Burlington, VT was the only metro area to see a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory continued to be in the west, with Seattle, WA at 0.9, San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO both at 1.0.

Contact
For specific data in this report or to request an interview, please contact newsroom@remax.com.

About the RE/MAX Network:
RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. Over 110,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of more than 100 countries and territories. Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX, when measured by residential transaction sides. RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RMCO, LLC, which is controlled and managed by RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX). With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $150 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® and other charities. For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit www.remax.com. For the latest news about RE/MAX, please visit www.remax.com/newsroom.

Description
The RE/MAX National Housing Report is distributed each month on or about the 15th. The first Report was distributed in August 2008. The Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, includes all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. Metro area definitions include the specific counties established by the U.S. Government’s Office of Management and Budget, with some exceptions.

Definitions
Transactions are the total number of closed residential transactions during the given month. Months Supply of Inventory is the total number of residential properties listed for sale at the end of the month (current inventory) divided by the number of sales contracts signed (pended) during the month. Where “pended” data is unavailable, this calculation is made using closed transactions. Days on Market is the number of days that pass from the time a property is listed until the property goes under contract for all residential properties sold during the month. Median Sales Price is the median of the median sales prices in each of the metro areas included in the survey.

MLS data is provided by contracted data aggregators, RE/MAX brokerages and regional offices. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. Every month the RE/MAX National Housing Report re-calculates the previous period’s data to ensure accuracy over time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of each local MLS organization.