U.S. existing home sales rebound more than expected
The report said existing home sales jumped 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 5.33 million in March after tumbling 7.3 percent to a revised 5.07 million in February.
Economists had expected existing home sales to climb by about 3.7 percent to a rate of 5.27 million from the 5.08 million originally reported for the previous month.
NAR said existing home sales rose in all four regions of the country last month and are up by 1.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
"Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers - mostly in the Northeast and Midwest - overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
"Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well," he added. "However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures."
The report said the median existing home price in March was $222,700, up 5 percent from $212,100 in February and up 5.7 percent from $210,700 a year ago.
NAR also said there were 1.98 million existing homes available for sale at the end of March, reflecting a 5.9 percent increase from 1.87 million at the end of February. Inventory is still down 1.5 percent year-over-year.
The unsold inventory in March represents 4.5 months of supply at the current sales pace compared to 4.4 months in February.
Single-family home sales surged up 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.76 million, while existing condominium and co-op sales rose 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 570,000. ■