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Home Sales in Spring off to a Slow Start

The spring homebuying season in 2019 is off to a slow start despite home sales climbing almost 29% in March compared with February according to data from the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.

In fact, the report indicated that this is the slowest start to the homebuying season in five years with home sales remaining 8.6% below March 2018 levels. According to the report, from 2015 to 2018 the housing market saw average sales during the start of the spring season (February to March) averaging 37%. March 2019's month-over-month increase of 28.8% was the smallest since 24.6% in 2014.

March saw the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales declines according to the report. It also saw the sixth straight month of year-over-year inventory growth, with a 5.3% gain.

Median sales prices also grew year-over-year by 3.4%. However, these gains were smaller than January and February which had seen gains of 4.6% and 5.5% respectively. However, the median sales price has risen by more than 3% year-over-year in 17 of the last 18 months.

"It was encouraging to see month-over-month sales improve during March," said Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX. "Although the seasonal bounce that typically ends the first quarter wasn't as strong as in the past few years, conditions are in place for a healthy spring selling season."

Days on the market for homes also increased from 57 days in March 2018 to 59 days this year, while Months Supply of Inventory declined year-over-year to 2.7 months from three months.

Regionally, Burlington, Vermont saw the highest increase in sales which rose 48.3% followed by Wichita, Kansas (46.8%) and San Francisco (44.3%). However, San Francisco was also among the two metros that saw a year-over-year price decline at -3.8%. At -1.4%, Hartford, Connecticut was the only other metro to see a price decline.

Despite the slow start, Contos is optimistic about the spring homebuying season this year. "Falling interest rates, rising inventory and moderating price increases against the backdrop of a healthy overall economy are cause for optimism for buyers and sellers alike," he said.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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