CHICAGO, April 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. existing-home sales declined in March, following February's surge of sales, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Monday.
Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 4.9 percent from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million in March.
"It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month. Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets." Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, anticipated waning in the numbers for March.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was 259,400 U.S. dollars, up 3.8 percent from March 2018 (249,800 dollars). March's price increase marks the 85th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of March increased to 1.68 million, up from 1.63 million existing homes available for sale in February and a 2.4 percent increase from 1.64 million a year ago.
Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.6 months in February and up from 3.6 months in March 2018.
"Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check," said Yun. "The sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth."
The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.