USA home sales shoot up to 10-year high

22 April, 2017, 00:05 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • USA home sales shoot up to 10-year high

Sales of U.S. existing home sales rose more than expected in March, to their highest pace in more than 10 years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Sales were up 5.9 percent from a year before, based on seasonally adjusted annualized figures, and up 4.4 percent from February. But more newcomers to the housing market were in search of purchases: first-time homebuyers accounted for 32 percent of sales in March, which is unchanged from February and up by two percent a year ago.

The consensus forecast was for a 2.5% rise from February's initial reading to 5.60 million units. Sales listings have tumbled 6.6 per cent over the past year to 1.83 million, limiting buyer choices and fueling higher prices.

Total housing inventory experienced a boost as well, with a 5.8 percentage point jump to 1.83 million homes for sale - a much-needed jump from the rock bottom levels experienced in the last few months.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said "a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market".

It is down 6.6 percent on a year-on-year basis and accounting for just 3.8 months' worth of supply at the current sales pace.

It's possible that more Americans are devoting their incomes to housing as retail sales have struggled in recent months, said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

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Inventories tumbled (for the 22nd month in a row) and prices rose (for the 61st month in a row) as affordability issues remain ignored (for now).

Home loan costs had been climbing after President Donald Trump won the November election, under the belief that the government would engage in forms of stimulus such as tax cuts and greater deficits that could cause higher levels of inflation.

"A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market", he said.

Distressed sales were 6% of the total in March, which are down from 8% a year ago. Five percent of March sales were foreclosures, and 1 percent were short sales. That's good news for sellers, who have been reluctant to put homes on the market, leaving limited choices for buyers - especially those seeking starter homes. "Over the a year ago home sales under $100,000 fell 7.1 percent while sales between $500,000 and $750,000 went up by 32.1 percent, due to builders' focus on the higher-end market".

In March, sales rose in the Northeast, Midwest and South but declined in the West.

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