Existing Home Sales Sputter in March

Wall Street Journal writer Laura Kusisto reported earlier this week that, “Sales of previously owned U.S. homes sputtered in March, failing to build off strong gains in February, despite lower mortgage rates and a strong job market.

U.S. existing-home sales fell 4.9% in March from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales were down 5.4% from a year ago, marking 13 straight months of annual declines.

“Home sales in February experienced their second-strongest monthly gain ever, offering the possibility that the market was finally rebounding. But March’s numbers were a setback as the housing market headed into the crucial spring selling season, and they offered fresh evidence that home sales are still struggling to break out of a period of decline.”

The Journal article stated that, “The housing market has been beset by a host of challenges over the past year. Home prices have risen faster than wages and inflation for years, making it difficult for many first-time buyers to afford homes. A rise in mortgage rates and a shortage of inventory, especially at the low end created additional challenges for buyers.

“All those trends have moderated or reversed in recent months, raising hopes that buyers would return to the market. The median sale price for an existing home in March was $259,400, up 3.8% from a year earlier, about half the pace of price growth a year ago.”

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