It looks like this spring won’t be the time to find a bargain property, at least not any time soon. The number of affordable homes on the market has continued to drop this spring, leaving buyers looking for an affordable property scrambling for the few available.
Home prices are still on the rise, with some substantial gains this spring. The national median home price was $250,400 in March, which is a 5.8% increase from March of 2017, and a 3.9% increase from February 2018, just a month before. Continued increases in property values have sellers excited but that still isn’t providing enough inventory for the market, or enough affordable options for first-time and budget-conscious buyers.
Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com observes, “In general, we’re seeing that there aren’t enough homes available for sale across all price ranges. But the biggest shortage is under $250,000.” According to the data, existing homes priced under $100,000 dropped an astonishing 20.7% and the percentage of homes under $250,000 fell by 7.8% compared to this time last year.
While the number of existing home sales hit 5.6 million in March, that represents just a 1.1% increase from February 2018 and a 1.2% decrease from last year at this time. A similar story follows with the data for single-family home sales, which were up 0.6% from February, but down 1% from 2017 statistics. Finally, condo sales have shown the largest gap, with sales up 5.2% over February 2018, but compared to March 2017, condo sales are down 3.2% from last year.
NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, summarizes the current market trends with, “The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year-ago levels. Supply is woefully low, and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford.”