US Home Sales Roared Back to Life in March - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

US Home Sales Roared Back to Life in March

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. homebuyers flooded back into the real estate market in March, pushing up sales and prices at the start of the spring buying season.

Sales of existing homes jumped 6.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Home purchases recovered after setting a weak pace in January and February, when an extremely cold and snow-filled winter cut into purchases. Relatively low mortgage rates and robust hiring has raised expectations that sales will improve after slipping slightly in 2014.

But the surge in sales has yet to cause a meaningful increase in listings. The market has just 4.6 months of supply, compared to six months in what economists consider to be a healthy market. The limited supplies have caused prices to rise at a level that hurts affordability. Median home prices increased 7.8 percent over the past 12 months to $212,100.

Real estate continues to recover from a housing crash that triggered the 2008 financial crisis and dragged down prices through 2012. But the sluggish pace of the nearly six-year recovery has kept wages from rising significantly, which has put homes out of reach for many as prices head higher. Many potential sellers are still underwater on their mortgages, meaning that they owe more than their home could fetch in a sale. This restricts the number of listings.

The March sales rate topped 5 million for the first time this year - and suggests that sales should improve from the total of 4.94 million in 2014. Still, in a healthy market, sales would average roughly 5.5 million a year, economists say.

Home-buying improved in all four geographic regions last month. The largest gains came from the Northeast and Midwest, areas where fierce winter weather in the prior two months delayed sales.

First-time buyers are also creeping back into the market. They accounted for 30 percent of March purchases, up from 29 percent in February. Yet first-time buyers usually compose 40 percent of sales in a healthy market.

The sales figures reinforce several other indicators that suggest a strengthening housing sector.

The real estate brokerage Redfin reported last week that sales jumped 10.1 percent in March compared with 12 months earlier. That's close to the 10.4 year-over-year increase tracked by the Realtors.

Redfin also found that the majority of homes in San Francisco sold for more than $1 million last month, while Denver homes were staying on the market for just six days. Yet fewer homes nationwide were listed for sale in March versus last year, likely limiting sales growth and lifting prices higher.

Prices are climbing at roughly four times the pace of wage growth. Average hourly wages have risen only 2.1 percent over the past year, meaning that.

Still, job gains over the past year mean that there are an additional 3.1 million people working - who have paychecks to spend. This has increased confidence within the real estate sector of a sales surge this year. Economists are predicting that home sales will increase.

Relatively low mortgage rates should also help buyers.

Average 30-year fixed rates were 3.67 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has plummeted from a 52-week high of 4.33 percent.
  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Contrasting Virginia Campaigns Could Affect Control of House

    Contrasting Virginia Campaigns Could Affect Control of House

    Jul 19, 2018 11:57 PM2018-07-20 03:57:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 11:57 PM EDT2018-07-20 03:57:04 GMT
    Some GOP congressmen in Virginia want nothing to do with their own party's provocative candidate for Senate.More
    Some GOP congressmen in Virginia want nothing to do with their own party's provocative candidate for Senate.More
  • Delaware, Maryland Granted Transmission Line Cost Rehearing

    Delaware, Maryland Granted Transmission Line Cost Rehearing

    Jul 19, 2018 9:39 PM2018-07-20 01:39:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 9:39 PM EDT2018-07-20 01:39:47 GMT
    The Federal Regulatory Commission on Thursday granted a rehearing sought by Delaware and Maryland officials over planned cost allocations for a $278 million regional electric transmission line project.More
    The Federal Regulatory Commission on Thursday granted a rehearing sought by Delaware and Maryland officials over planned cost allocations for a $278 million regional electric transmission line project.More
  • Delaware State Fair Kicks Off in Harrington

    Delaware State Fair Kicks Off in Harrington

    Jul 19, 2018 6:58 PM2018-07-19 22:58:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:59 PM EDT2018-07-19 22:59:32 GMT
    HARRINGTON, Del. --- The 99th Annual Delaware State Fair kicked off Thursday in Harrington. The event runs for 10 days at the fairgrounds and features amusement park rides, food vendors, agriculture exhibits, and other events like concerts. The event starMore
    HARRINGTON, Del. --- The 99th Annual Delaware State Fair kicked off Thursday in Harrington. The event runs for 10 days at the fairgrounds and features amusement park rides, food vendors, agriculture exhibits, and other events like concerts. The event starMore
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 40 German Shepherd's Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    40 German Shepherds Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    Jul 19, 2018 6:34 PM2018-07-19 22:34:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:37 PM EDT2018-07-19 22:37:06 GMT
    Jolindy's Kennel (Photo WBOC)Jolindy's Kennel (Photo WBOC)
    Jolindy's Kennel (Photo WBOC)Jolindy's Kennel (Photo WBOC)
    POCOMOKE, Md. - Last Friday Dog Control in Westover received an anonymous complaint about Jolindy's Kennel stating that the property is dirty and there were concerns for the dogs living there. Linda Brown is the owner of the kennel and she was surprised wMore
    POCOMOKE, Md. - Yesterday 40 German Shepherds were removed from Jolindy's Kennel. More
  • Delaware Man Convicted of Sexually Abusing Minor

    Delaware Man Convicted of Sexually Abusing Minor

    Jul 19, 2018 4:58 PM2018-07-19 20:58:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 4:58 PM EDT2018-07-19 20:58:05 GMT
    Bruce Bilal Anding, 31Bruce Bilal Anding, 31
    Bruce Bilal Anding, 31Bruce Bilal Anding, 31
    A Delaware man has been convicted of sexually abusing a minor among other charges.More
    A Delaware man has been convicted of sexually abusing a minor among other charges.More
  • Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    Jul 19, 2018 6:11 PM2018-07-19 22:11:00 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:16 PM EDT2018-07-19 22:16:19 GMT
    (Photo: AP)(Photo: AP)
    (Photo: AP)(Photo: AP)
    SEAFORD, De- The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county.More
    SEAFORD, De- The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 40 German Shepherd's Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    40 German Shepherd's Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    Last Friday Dog Control in Westover received an anonymous complaint about Jolindy's Kennel stating that the property is dirty and there were concerns for the dogs living there. 

    Linda Brown is the owner of the kennel and she was surprised when the Somerset County Sheriff Department showed up yesterday with animal control officers to remove all 40 of her German Shepherds.

    More

    Last Friday Dog Control in Westover received an anonymous complaint about Jolindy's Kennel stating that the property is dirty and there were concerns for the dogs living there. 

    Linda Brown is the owner of the kennel and she was surprised when the Somerset County Sheriff Department showed up yesterday with animal control officers to remove all 40 of her German Shepherds.

    More
  • Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county. 

    The recent spike has prompted a state warning specifically targeted at heroin users. According to the release, the uptick may be the result of heroin being laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid much more powerful than most drugs. 

    More

    The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county. 

    The recent spike has prompted a state warning specifically targeted at heroin users. According to the release, the uptick may be the result of heroin being laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid much more powerful than most drugs. 

    More
  • Unexpected Discovery Made in Ocean City Median Project

    Unexpected Discovery Made in Ocean City Median Project

    Cones and construction are scattered along Coastal Highway in Ocean City. Initially postponed, the median project will put a divider up in the middle of the two lanes of traffic from 44th to 62nd St.

    State Highway Administration confirms the median project is on schedule and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, but some folks in town have their doubts about that completion time.

    More

    Cones and construction are scattered along Coastal Highway in Ocean City. Initially postponed, the median project will put a divider up in the middle of the two lanes of traffic from 44th to 62nd St.

    State Highway Administration confirms the median project is on schedule and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, but some folks in town have their doubts about that completion time.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices