Despite optimistic reports of a housing rebound, March numbers are troubling some analysts. Sales of existing single-family homes, condominiums, and co-ops declined by 0.6 percent in March to 4.92 million (seasonally adjusted) down from 4.95 million in February. Of course, this number still indicates a 10.3 percent improvement over March 2013. The decline could mean that the housing market is stalling, but for now it appears to mainly be an excuse for just about every real estate professional out there to happily announce that there is an inventory shortage and prices are going to head back up. National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun immediately released a statement saying that “people who have been delaying putting their home on the market will realize they can’t wait any longer,” while other analysts pointed out that the time to buy – or sell – is definitely now while the “housing shortage” exists.
Home prices are rising in many areas of the country. In the western states, prices rose 26 percent year-over-year, while the South posted gains of more than 10 percent. Nationally, buying traffic is up 25 percent over this time last year. “Conditions continue to broadly favor sellers,” said Yun, adding that as long as prices continue to rise, the selling population will likely put off putting their homes on the market in hopes of making a better sale when they finally do so.
by Carole Van Sickle