Home prices soar in March as inventory remains at ‘near-historic’ lows

Consumer Reports

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(NEXSTAR) – March was a great month for homeowners looking to sell a property. But for buyers looking to acquire a home? Not so much.

The sale prices for existing homes in March rose at a record-breaking rate of 17.2% over the same month in 2020, with the median sale price of an existing home reaching $329,100, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) this week. At the same time, the number of existing homes sold during the month of March dropped by 3.7% from February — but it’s certainly not for a lack of buyers.

“The sales for March would have been measurably higher, had there been more inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a news release shared Thursday. “Days-on-market are swift, multiple offers are prevalent, and buyer confidence is rising.”

By the end of March, existing inventory was actually up 3.9% from February, though inventory numbers remain at “near-historic lows” overall, NAR reports.

This lack of supply, Yun says, will continue to widen “the society wealth division” that currently gives sellers the edge, and threatens to keep potential buyers from affording the rising price of a home.

Rising prices were also a consistent trend across all four major regions of the country, with homes selling for higher median prices in the Northeast (up 21.4%), Midwest (13.5%), South (15.9%) and West (16.8%) than in March 2020. Meanwhile, the number of existing home sales fell in each region from February, despite year-over-year sales remaining well over 2020 rates.

And when listings did appear, they were snatched up by eager buyers: Properties that sold in March “typically” only remained on the market for 18 days — a record low, according to NAR.

“Consumers are facing much higher home prices, rising mortgage rates, and falling affordability, however, buyers are still actively in the market,” Yun said.

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