RE/MAX: February Home Sales Jump 33.4%

RE/MAX, Denver, said the 2016 home buying season roared in like a lion in March, reporting a 33.4 percent jump in sales from February among 53 metro areas surveyed.

The company’s National Housing Report said March sales were 3.6 percent greater than sales one year ago. Three months into 2016, the average year-over-year increase in home sales grew to 4.9 percent. The median price was $204,000, unchanged from February.

RE/MAX said inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with March inventory 13.3 percent lower than a year ago, The national months’ supply of inventory was 3.2, down from 3.7 a year ago.

“March is marking a strong kick-off for this year’s home-selling season,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman and co-founder. “After a long winter, demand for homes remains high, with large numbers of home buyers coming into the market.”

In the 53 metro areas surveyed in March, home sales appeared to be especially strong in the northeast, such as in Boston, Providence and Hartford. Thirty-seven of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported higher sales on a year-over-year basis, with 10 experiencing double-digit increases, including Manchester, N.H. (51.4%), Hartford (21.9%), Boston (21.5%), Providence (20.3%), Augusta, Maine (19.7%) and Trenton, N.J. (19.5%).

“Homes have continued to increase in value since the depths experienced after the last recession,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “Those increases mean far fewer Americans have negative equity in their homes. This increases their mobility and is a positive development for all segments of the housing market.”

Among metro areas surveyed in March, 44 reported higher prices than last year, with six rising by double-digit percentages: Portland (16.1%), Augusta (13.6%), Providence (12.2%), Tampa (11.0%) Denver (10.5%) and Nashville (10.5%).

RE/MAX said average days on market for homes sold in March was 71, down four days from February and seven days lower from a year ago, the 36th consecutive month with an average of 80 or less. Denver and San Francisco also had the lowest days on market at 33 and 25 respectively; Augusta (165), Des Moines (111) and Trenton, N.J. (111) had the highest average.