Housing Recovery Loses Steam: Blame Inventory, Not Weather

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Existing-home sales continued to struggle and fell to their lowest level in more than one-and-a-half years last month. Making matters worse, current sales activity is underperforming by historical standards as home prices climb higher and impact affordability.

The National Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that total existing-home sales — completed transactions of single-family homes, town homes, condos, and co-ops — fell 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million units in March, compared to 4.6 million units in the previous month. Sales have now declined in seven of the past eight months.

On the positive, the results were slightly better than expectations, which has been a rare occurrence in the housing market recently. Earlier this year, sales missed estimates for seven consecutive months. However, existing-home sales are still 7.5 percent below the 4.96-million-unit level seen last year in the same period. This is the fifth consecutive month that sales were below year-ago levels, and March was the slowest since July 2012, when sales stood at 4.59 million.

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