Economists have been predicting a "spring revival" since the beginning of the year thanks to hearty buyers who refuse to let low inventory keep them from finding the ideal home.
Nationwide chief economist David Berson says the large increase in existing home sales was expected since pending home sales, an earlier indicator, were strong.
Total existing-home sales ascended 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.47 million in February. Distressed sales were at 6 percent, a 1 percentage point decrease from February.
Despite the strong numbers, inventory is still 6.6 percentage points below March 2016 and is the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
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The West fell 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, though they are still 5.2% higher than they were a year ago.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist: "The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month".
In the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor area, the typical listing period was longer, at 64 days, according to inventory data from Realtor.com. Total sales in 2016 came in at 5.45 million to surpass 2015's total of 5.25 million as the most sales since 2006 when 6.48 million homes were sold. Foreclosed and nondistressed homes were on the market for an average of 52 and 32 days, respectively, and short sales took a median of 90 days to sell. The median price on a condo jumped 7.4 percent over the previous year to $327,500. DuPage County had a 16.1 percent jump in sales as prices climbed 10.2 percent to $270,000. Sales for the first three months of the year were 5% higher than in 2016. The median price for a single-family existing home was $237,000, while the median price for an existing condo was $224,700.
How did buying patterns vary across the country?The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8% higher on the year.
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Recent gains in pending home sales, which lead existing-home sales by a few months, had signaled a rebound in existing sales. The median sale price was $183,000, up 6.2 percent.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.42 million.
The largest increase in sales was in McHenry County, which recorded a 31.1 percent as prices rose 9 percent to a median of $199,450.
In the West, existing-home sales decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million.
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