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RE/MAX: Prices, Sales Climb in March, Inventory Sees New Low

Home sales and prices continued to grow in March, but low supply continues to temper otherwise positive news.

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According to ""RE/MAX's"":http://www.remax.com/ National Housing Report for March, closed transactions climbed 27.8 percent month-over-month, starting the selling season off strong. Year-over-year, sales were up 2.9 percent, making March the 21st straight month to see higher sales than the previous year.

Of the 52 metro areas surveyed, RE/MAX reports 31 seeing higher sales than March 2012, with 15 posting double-digit gains, including: Honolulu, Hawaii (+43.5 percent); Albuquerque, New Mexico (+28.7 percent); and Nashville, Tennessee (+26.1 percent).

In addition, the median price for all homes sold in those 52 metro areas was $170,000--a gain of 6.2 percent over February and 8.4 percent over March 2012. According to RE/MAX, median prices have shown year-over-year improvements for 14 straight months as of the most recent survey.

Out of all 52 areas tracked, only two saw yearly declines in median price: Hartford, Connecticut (-2.7 percent), and Little Rock, Arkansas (-7.9 percent). On the other hand, 19 metros reported double-digit increases, including: Atlanta, Georgia (+41.9 percent); San Francisco, California (+41.4 percent); and Las Vegas, Nevada (+32.7 percent).

""Home sales remain strong, and rising prices are a positive trend, but the shrinking inventory is starting to be a concern,"" said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. ""Hopefully, higher prices will result in more homeowners gaining increased equity, and feeling comfortable putting their home on the market.""

Months Supply of homes fell to 3.8 in March, down 29.5 percent year-over-year and the lowest level recorded since RE/MAX's National Housing Report began in August 2008. Month-over-month, supply was down 3.3 percent. Only two metros reported a rise in overall inventory from last year: Manchester, New Hampshire (+1.9 percent), and Phoenix, Arizona (+1.1 percent). Out of all the markets surveyed, San Francisco had the lowest Months Supply: 0.8.

In addition, of all homes sold in March, the average Days on Market was a mere 85, down four days from February and 16 days from March 2012. The 85-day average is the 10th time in the past year that the Days on Market average has been below 90.

""Real estate agents across the country report that interest in the market is high and home sales should remain strong into the summer,"" RE/MAX said in its report. ""While home prices have not returned to their pre-crisis levels, increasing numbers of homeowners are finding they now have a much better equity position.""

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