The coronavirus pandemic took a chunk out of existing-home sales in March, falling 8.5% compared with February, according to the National Association of Realtors.
However, sales were up 0.8% compared with March 2019.
Regionally, and month-over-month, sales dropped 13.6% in the West, 9.1% in the South,
7.1% in the Northeast and 3.1% in the Midwest.
“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”
Although sales fell, home prices held strong. The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $280,600 – an increase of 8.0% from a year earlier.
Total housing inventory at the end of March totaled 1.50 million units, up 2.7% compared with February but down 10.2% compared with March 2019.
That’s a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace.
“Earlier in the year, we watched inventory gradually tick upward but with the current quarantine recommendations in place, fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices,” Yun says. “Significantly more listings are needed and more will come on to the market once the economy steadily reopens.”