The one thing steady about the U.S. housing market post-Q1 is that it continues to be defined by a dynamic that almost sounds like it's stuck on repeat: historically low inventory is driving fewer sales and rising prices in most markets.
That's been true for a full two years. According to the April 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report, home prices continued to climb year-over-year for the 24th consecutive month in March. At the same time, home sales dropped for a fourth consecutive month.
The number of homes for sale nationally was flat compared to in February, but down almost 15 percent from last March. Average inventory in March dropped below three months; all 54 metros surveyed had less than six months’ worth of inventory.
However, RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos says homebuyers shouldn’t be discouraged by the record-breaking numbers.
“Even with higher prices and closed transactions,” Contos said, “this March marks the second-highest in sales in the history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report.”
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in March 2018, the overall average number of home sales increased more than 36 percent over February, according to the report. That was about 5 percent lower than a year ago, overall. Milwaukee saw housing prices rise most—22 percent over last year.
The national median price was up to $236,000 in March. That's 3 percent higher than in February and 5 percent above last March. Twelve metros increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages—the largest being Boise and San Francisco, each of which increased by more than 19 percent.
In short, it's an especially good time to sell. According to the report, all 54 metro areas surveyed reported less than six months’ worth of inventory, meaning it's a strong seller's market everywhere.
“We also look at the days on market as another indicator of tight inventory,” said Contos. “The national average stands at 60 days—four less than a year ago, and another March record-breaker.”
Cities with the lowest number of days on market were all in the West. San Francisco homes spent 20 on market. Seattle, Denver, and San Diego homes also spent less than a month on the market. By contrast, homes in Augusta, Maine, spent 131 days on the market.