Real Estate Market

Real Estate Market Trends

May Housing Market Update

Note: National Association of Realtors® (NAR) data shown for May is based on March data.

Sales of existing homes ramped up in March to the briskest pace in more than a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), while significant supply shortages caused the typical home to come off the market faster than in February or a year ago. The West was the only region with a decline in sales activity in March.

Total existing-home sales (transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) grew 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from 5.47 million in February. March's sales velocity is 5.9% higher than one year ago and eclipses January as the best month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Existing Home Sales By Region

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that existing sales came back strongly in March, led by sizable gains in the Northeast and Midwest. "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," Yun said.

Housing Data Takeaways

  • March's median price for existing U.S. homes (all types) was $236,400, up 6.8% from last year ($221,400). March's price increase represents year-over-year growth for the 61st straight month.
  • Total national housing inventory by the end of March lifted 5.8% to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale, but remains 6.6% lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has dropped year-over-year for 22 consecutive months. There is a 3.8-month supply of unsold inventory at the current sales velocity.
  • Nationally, properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, down considerably from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago.
  • Freddie Mac data indicates that the average commitment rate for a 30-year,  conventional, fixed-rate mortgage grew for a fifth consecutive month in March to 4.20% from 4.17% in February. For 2016, the average commitment rate was 3.65%.
  • First-time buyers drove 32 percent of March's sales, unchanged from February and up from 30% a year ago. First-time buyers represented 35% of sales in 2016.

Enhance your Curb Appeal!

It's important for sellers to do what they can to get their home to stand out. Here are five quick tips to generate some excitement for your home in today's market.

  • Use Paint:  A new coat of paint can go a long way to make your home look up to date. Neutral colors work best because they appeal to the most people.
  • Mow the Lawn: Take the time to mow the lawn and clean the yard. Rake leaves and grass and put away any tools that may be lying around. Don't turn buyers off with a messy yard. If they like what they see on the outside, you'll improve your chances of getting them to look inside.
  • Plant Flowers: Seasonal or perennials can bring a splash of color to your home and brighten the view from the street. Flowers throughout the house will please the senses and make your house feel like a home.
  • Spruce Up Your Walkway: Dressing up your walkway with bricks or paving stones will lead people to your front door. Inexpensive solar lighting can further enhance your entry.
  • Window Treatments: Keep your home from looking plain or boring with some decorative shutters. Windows are very important to the overall appeal of your home. Add planter boxes underneath for an immediate improvement that doesn't cost a lot of money!

By following these tips, you will be able to capture the hearts and minds of today's buyers, as well as improve your chances for a quick sale at the best price possible.

When you are ready, contact me today for a personal market value analysis of your home. No hassles or obligation - just honest advice on how to get top dollar for your home!



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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
Fax: 515-453-6404



Licensed in the State of Iowa