March 2024 National Housing Market Report

Existing-Home Sales Descended 4.3% in March

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales retreated 4.3% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million. Sales fell 3.7% from the previous year.
  • The median existing-home sales price rose 4.8% from March 2023 to $393,500 – the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains and the highest price ever for the month of March.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes grew 4.7% from one month ago to 1.11 million at the end of March, or the equivalent of 3.2 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.
EHS Housing Snapshot Infographic, March 2024

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WASHINGTON (April 18, 2024) – Existing-home sales slipped in March, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Among the four major U.S. regions, sales slid in the Midwest, South and West, but rose in the Northeast for the first time since November 2023. Year-over-year, sales decreased in all regions.

Total existing-home sales1 – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – receded 4.3% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million in March. Year-over-year, sales waned 3.7% (down from 4.35 million in March 2023).

“Though rebounding from cyclical lows, home sales are stuck because interest rates have not made any major moves,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “There are nearly six million more jobs now compared to pre-COVID highs, which suggests more aspiring home buyers exist in the market.”

Total housing inventory2 registered at the end of March was 1.11 million units, up 4.7% from February and 14.4% from one year ago (970,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 2.9 months in February and 2.7 months in March 2023.

“More inventory is always welcomed in the current environment,” Yun added. “Frankly, it’s a great time to list with ongoing multiple offers on mid-priced properties and, overall, home prices continuing to rise.”

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in March was $393,500, an increase of 4.8% from the previous year ($375,300). All four U.S. regions registered price gains.

REALTORS® Confidence Index

According to the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 33 days in March, down from 38 days in February but up from 29 days in March 2023.

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in March, up from 26% in February and 28% in March 2023. NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 20234 – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 32%.

All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions in March, down from 33% in February but up from 27% one year ago.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in March, down from 21% in February and 17% in March 2023.

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in March, virtually unchanged from last month and the prior year.

Mortgage Rates

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage(link is external) averaged 6.88% as of April 11. That’s up from 6.82% the previous week and 6.27% one year ago.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.8 million in March, down 4.3% from 3.97 million in February and 2.8% from the prior year. The median existing single-family home price was $397,200 in March, up 4.7% from March 2023.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 390,000 units in March, existing condominium and co-op sales decreased 4.9% from last month and 11.4% from one year ago (440,000 units). The median existing condo price was $357,400 in March, up 5.8% from the previous year ($337,900).

Regional Breakdown

Existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 4.2% from February to an annual rate of 500,000 in March, ending a four-month streak where sales in the Northeast registered 480,000 units. Compared to March 2023, home sales were down 3.8%. The median price in the Northeast was $434,600, up 9.9% from one year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales retracted 1.9% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.01 million in March, down 1.0% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $292,400, up 7.5% from March 2023.

Existing-home sales in the South faded 5.9% from February to an annual rate of 1.9 million in March, down 5.0% from one year before. The median price in the South was $359,100, up 3.4% from last year.

In the West, existing-home sales slumped 8.2% from a month ago to an annual rate of 780,000 in March, a decline of 3.7% from the previous year. The median price in the West was $603,000, up 6.7% from March 2023.

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