March’s pending home sales strained, up a paltry 0.4 percent in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)Pending Home Sales Index(PHSI). Two of the major regions in the U.S. experienced higher sales, with the Midwest gaining 2.4 percent and the South gaining 2.5 percent, but in the Northeast, sales slipped 5.6 percent, and in the West, slumped 1.1 percent.
“Healthy economic conditions are creating considerable demand for purchasing a home, but not all buyers are able to sign contracts because of the lack of choices in inventory,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “Steady price growth and the swift pace of listings coming off the market are proof that more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. What continues to hold back sales is the fact that prospective buyers are increasingly having difficulty finding an affordable home to buy.”
According to Yun, any considerable improvement rests on supply.
“Much of the country is enjoying a thriving job market, but buying a home is becoming more expensive,” Yun says. “That is why it is an absolute necessity for there to be a large increase in new and existing homes available for sale in coming months to moderate home price growth. Otherwise, sales will remain stuck in this holding pattern and a growing share of would-be buyers—especially first-time buyers—will be left on the sidelines.”