Strong March Home Sales, Low Inventory Means Tougher Market for Buyers
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.
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, visit http://rem.ax/2cYFT50.
“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.”
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.