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Home sales slowed in March, up over last year

Home sales slowed in March, up over last year, Sales of existing homes were down in March, the National Association of Realtors said on April 22.

Nationally, homes sales are up 10.3 percent over last year, the NAR reported, and up in every region of the United States.

The supply of homes for sale is at least temporarily below the demand for the housing, the NAR said.

"Buyer traffic is 25 percent above a year ago when we were already seeing notable gains in shopping activity," NAR economist Lawrence Yun said in a prepared statement. "In the same timeframe housing inventories have trended much lower, which is continuing to pressure home prices. The good news is home construction is rising and low mortgage rates are continuing to keep affordability conditions at historically favorable levels. The bad news is that underwriting standards remain excessively tight, while renters are getting squeezed by higher rents."

The median price for an existing home in the United States is believed to be $184,300, the NAR said, which is almost 12 percent higher than a year ago.

"The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less," the NAR said. "Medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions."

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