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Sales of existing homes in the Northeast climbed 4.2% in March, bucking a national trend that continued to see a drop in sales in other regions of the country, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Thursday. 

March marked the first time that sales of existing homes picked up in the Northeast since November 2023. Existing home sales declined in the Midwest, South and West. 

“Though rebounding from cyclical lows, home sales are stuck because interest rates have not made any major moves,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “There are nearly 6 million more jobs now compared to pre-COVID highs, which suggests more aspiring home buyers exist in the market.” 

The median U.S. existing single-family home price was $397,200 in March, up 4.7% from March 2023.  High mortgage rates are also affecting home sales. The 30-year mortgage rate rose to a four-month high of 7.13% on Thursday. 

Total U.S. housing inventory registered at the end of March was 1.11 million units, up 4.7% from February and 14.4% from one year ago (970,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 2.9 months in February. 

“More inventory is always welcomed in the current environment,” Yun added. “Frankly, it’s a great time to list with ongoing multiple offers on mid-priced properties and, overall, home prices continuing to rise.” 

The median existing home sales price in the Northeast was $434,600, up 9.9% from one year ago. Nevertheless, sales in the Northeast climbed 4.2% from February 2024 to an annual rate of 500,000 in March. However, compared to March 2023, home sales were down 3.8%.  

In the Midwest, existing home sales retracted 1.9% from one month ago to an annual rate of 1.01 million in March, down 1.0% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $292,400, up 7.5% from March 2023. 

Existing home sales in the South fell 5.9% from February to an annual rate of 1.9 million in March, down 5.0% from one year before. The median price in the South was $359,100, up 3.4% from last year. 

In the West, existing home sales slumped 8.2% from a month ago to an annual rate of 780,000 in March, a decline of 3.7% from the previous year. The median price in the West was $603,000, up 6.7% from March 2023. 

All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions in March, down from 33% in February but up from 27% one year ago. 

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in March, down from 21% in February and 17% in March 2023. 

Foreclosures and short sales represented 2% of sales in March, virtually unchanged from last month and the prior year.