What goes down must go up, right?
That was the case in March as existing-home sales rebounded strongly (5.1 percent) following February’s surprisingly large decline.
Diving into the numbers, while all four major regions saw increases, buyers in the Northeast (11.1 percent) and Midwest (9.8 percent) had the most success. During today’s news conference, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said those two regions are simply “catching up” after lagging the South and West regions during this current housing recovery.
While the headline figures reveal a strong beginning to this year’s spring market, not everyone is participating at the same rate.
First-time buyers? They continue to under perform, representing 30 percent of all buyers for the second straight month. Affordability and the low availability of starter homes is still a major barrier for them in most markets.
Looking at NAR Research data on the percent share of sales by price range (chart below), you’ll notice one thing: sales activity was up (year-over-year) the most in the mid-priced ranges. While the lower-priced market has been down now for several months (hello first-time buyers?), there was some deceleration from recent months in sales above $1 million.
With inventory conditions much more favorable at higher price points, it appears even the most wealthy buyers are starting to balk at the high asking prices in some markets.
Other key takeaways? Prices continue to rise and inventory continues to lag. Check out the charts below.