Home buyers taking advantage of the soon-to-be-expiring tax credits lifted existing-home sales in March, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The existing-home sales report, which does not reflect new construction, is a highly anticipated monthly snapshot of housing markets across the country.
Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 6.8 percent over March 2009, nationally. Median existing-home prices rose 0.4 percent, to $170,700. 14 of 20 markets showed an increase in median home prices.
Metro Atlanta results: Atlanta’s median price dropped 2.3%, from $116,300 in March 2009 to this year’s $113,600. Atlanta actually outperformed the national average in sales units, though, increasing 7.0% over last year.
Other fun facts:
• First-Time Homebuyers purchased 44 percent of homes in March, up from 42% in February. Investors were steady at 19 percent of sales.
• Total housing inventory, while increasing slightly, dropped to an 8.0 month supply, versus 8.5 months in February.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, stated it is encouraging to see a broad home sales recovery in nearly every part of the country, with two important underlying trends. “Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running,” he said.
“The home buyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices. This is preserving perhaps $1 trillion in largely middle class housing wealth that may have been wiped out without the housing stimulus measure.”