Sellers are not having to wait very long before their homes are under contract. Nearly half of the homes sold in March were off the market in less than a month. The housing market has been going strong this year, and the speed at which homes are being sold is another sign that the spring buying season is getting off to a strong start.
In the San Francisco and Oakland, California areas, homes sold on average in 24-25 days, and homes in and around Seattle, Washington were snatched up in 28 days on average. The average of all sold homes was just 34 days, down from 47 days at this time last year.
Existing home sales also enjoyed a strong March. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million homes was up 4.4 percent from February, the highest rate in more than a decade. Not since February 2007’s 5.9 million pace have existing homes been selling at such a clip.
Strong sales and high demand pushed home prices higher last month. The median existing home price was $236,400, a 6.8 increase from a year ago. If it seems like home prices have been climbing for years, it’s because that’s exactly what has been happening. March’s price bump marks 61 months of rising home prices.
Builders cannot keep up with the demand, and while the inventory for all homes has increased to 1.83 million existing homes, a year ago inventory was more than six percent higher at 1.96 million homes. March marked the 22nd consecutive month that year-over-year inventory has declined. Some cities’ inventories dropped more than 60 percent over the past five years. Nashville, Tennessee lost 66 percent of its inventory of existing homes from 2012 to 2017. The low inventory pushed prices up with the median price of starter homes jumping 36 percent over the same time period to $108,783.
Will the market continue to favor sellers? How will the continued tight inventory affect home sales over the summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.