For the ninth straight month, home sales in RE/MAX National Housing Report were higher than they were a year ago, rising 1.5 percent in March over 2011 and month-over-month sales were 25.4 percent higher than in February.
The international franchisor attributed the improving picture to good weather, low interest rates, attractive pricing, and improving consumer confidence have drawn many buyers into this year's growing market. Of the 53 metro areas included in the March survey, 33 experienced a year-over-year increase in sales, and 17 of those saw double-digit increases including: Wilmington, DE +41.8 percent, Omaha, NE +30.6 percent, Providence, RI +26.6 percent, Tulsa, OK + 26.0 percent, Chicago, IL +23.7 percent and Milwaukee, WI +21.4 percent.
For homes sold in March, the median sales price was $184,525, a 7.3 percent price increase from February, and a 5.8 percent increase from the March 2011 median price. March marks only the second year-over-year price increase in 19 months and the first consecutive increase since August 2010. In the March RE/MAX National Housing Report of 53 metro areas, 36 experienced price increases from March 2011, with 10 seeing double-digit increases including: Detroit +22.8 percent, Miami +21.8 percent, St. Louis +18.5 percent, Phoenix +18.2 percent,
The average inventory of homes-for-sale in March for the 53 surveyed metro areas dropped 2.8% from February and also dropped 23.2% from March 2011. Month-to month inventories have now fallen for 21 consecutive months, mostly as a result of lower foreclosure rates. With the size of this active inventory, the resulting Months Supply is 5.3 months, given the current rate of sales. This is a month less than the 6.6 supply seen in February and almost 2 months less than the 7.1 supply in March 2011. Months Supply is the number of months it would take to clear a market's active inventory at the current rate of sales. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
"With buyers starting to jump into this market, this year's selling season is shaping up to be the strongest we've seen in years," said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. "Although we don't expect home prices to rise in every market at the same rate, the worst is definitely behind us, and a slow, steady recovery is taking hold."