Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

March 2021 Existing-Home Sales Drop While Prices Continue to Climb

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this March declined 3.7% from February 2021. March's existing home sales reached a 6.01 million seasonally-adjusted annual rate. March's sales of existing homes increased 12.3% from March 2020.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales, March 2020 to March 2021

The national median existing-home price for all housing types rose to $329,100 in March, up 17.2% percent from a year ago. Home prices have continued to rise, and this marks the 109th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Median Sales Price of Existing-Home Sales, March 2021 and March 2020

Regionally, all four regions showed double-digit price growth from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest gain of 21.4%, followed by the West with an incline of 16.8%. The South showed an increase of 15.6%, and the Midwest had the smallest price gain of 13.5% from March 2020.

March's inventory increased 3.9% from last month, standing at 1.07 million homes for sale. Compared with March of 2020, inventory levels dropped 28.2%. This would mark 22 straight months of year-over-year declines. It will take 2.1 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace.

Demand remains strong as home buyers are snatching listings quickly off the MLS, and it takes approximately 18 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market. A year ago, it took 29 days.

Bar chart: Inventory, March 2020 to March 2021

From February 2021, all of the four regions had declines in sales.  The West had the biggest drop in sales of 8.0%, followed by the South with a decline of 2.9%. The Midwest had a dip in sales of 2.3%, followed by the Northeast, which fell of 1.3%.

From a year ago, all four regions showed increases in sales. The Northeast region had the largest gain of 16.9%, followed by the South with an incline of 15.9%. The West had an increase in sales of 15.5%, followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain of 0.8%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 44.9% of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 12.6%.

Bar chart: Regional Existing-Home Sales and Year-Over-Year Percent Change, March 2021 and March 2020

In March, single-family sales were down 4.3% and condominiums sales were up 1.4 compared to last month. Single-family home sales were up 10.4% while condominium sales were up 29.1% compared to a year ago. The median sales price of single-family homes rose to a record 18.4% at $334,500 from March 2020, while the median sales price of condominiums rose 9.8% at $289,000.

Line graph: Single-Family vs Condo Price Month-Over-Month Percent Change, January 2019 to March 2021
Line graph: Single-Family vs Condo Price Year-Over-Year Percent Change, January 2019 to March 2021