For much of the country, the first quarter of 2019 provided several disruptive weather patterns that contributed to less foot traffic toward potential home sales. Coupled with low affordability, higher prices and an inventory situation in its infancy of recovering from record lows – not to mention several more days of wintry weather in April – slower sales persisted across most residential real estate markets.
However, buyers are beginning to return in force this spring. For well-priced homes in desirable locations, competition is fierce. New Listings were down 1.6 percent to 662. Pending Sales increased 7.3 percent to 588. Inventory grew 4.8 percent to 2,403 units. Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 2.4 percent to $319,250. Days on Market increased 3.7 percent to 140 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down 1.8 percent to 5.4 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.
The national unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent during April 2019, the lowest level since 1969. A historically low unemployment rate can provide reassurance to wary consumers. But in order for sales to increase on a grand scale, buyers will need more spending power, or sellers will need to reduce prices to land where buyers are most active. Neither situation is likely to occur in 2019, yet inventory is straining to keep pace in the most competitive price ranges.
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