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The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that U.S. existing-home sales rose 6.8 percent in March for the first time in three months.
 
Even though buyers seeking to take advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit have until April 30 to go under contract, closed transactions in March increased to an annualized rate of 5.35 million. 
 
"Sales have been higher than year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist.
 
All 54 metro areas included in the AP-RE/MAX Monthly Housing Report showed positive growth in sales for March. Year-over-year, inventory was down 13.15 percent while prices increased by 7.76 percent.

 

March 2010 Existing Home Sales            
  Annualized Sales 1 Mo Diff  1 Year Diff Median Price 1 Mo Diff 1 Yr Diff
National 5.35M +6.8% +16.1% $170,700 +3.4% +0.4%
             
Northeast 890k +5.9% +25.4% $254,700 -1.9% +8.9%
Midwest 1.19M +7.2% +15.5% $139,300 +8.8% +5.2%
South 1.97M +7.1% +13.9% $154,800 +10.9% +5.2%
West 1.30M +6.6% +14% $207,900 +0.7% -7.9%

National Inventory:
1. March Inventory: 3.58M, +1.5% from February and -1.8% from March 2009
2. Months Supply: 8 months, down from 8.5 months in February.
 

March Practitioner Survey:
1. Distressed properties made up 35% of all sales. (unchanged)
2.
First-time buyers purchased 44%  of all homes sold. (up from 42% in Feb)
3.
Investors accounted for 19% of all transactions. (unchanged)

Mortgage Interest Rates:
1.
March 2010 = 4.97%
2.
February 2010 = 4.99%
3.
March 2009 = 5.00%
(National average commitment rate from Freddie Mac)

Posted 4/22/10 on Remax.net

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Jeff Cairncross

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