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May 2018 News

National Real Estate Overview

Note: Data below from March, 2018 is the most recent from the National Association of Realtors.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), sales of existing homes in March grew for a second straight month, but low inventory levels and affordability pressures held sales activity lower than a year ago.

Total existing-home sales (transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) rose 1.1% to 5.60 million in March from 5.54 million in February. Still, sales remain 1.2% below a year ago.

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, indicated that closings in March inched forward despite challenging market conditions in most of the nation. "Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million," he said. Yun added, "The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford."

Nationwide, March's median existing-home price (all housing types) was $250,400, up 5.8% from March 2017 ($236,600). This price increase represents 73 consecutive months of gains.

Total U.S. housing inventory at the end of March rose 5.7% to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, but remains 7.2% lower than a year ago (1.80 million) and has dropped year-over-year for 34 straight months. Nationally, unsold inventory sits at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (vs. 3.8 months a year ago).

Freddie Mac data shows the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased for a sixth consecutive month to 4.44% in March from 4.33% in February. For all of 2017, the average commitment rate was 3.99%.

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