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RealtyTrac: Home sales tick up slightly in March

Up 0.3% over February and 8% year-over-year

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Single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,253,464 in March, an increase of 0.4% from February and up 8% from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s March and Q1 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report.

This report includes all sales, not just new home sales, which took a beating in March, dropping 14.5% for the month and 13.3% year-over-year.

“The housing market showed signs of coming out of hibernation in March after a sluggish fall and winter,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Median home prices increased on a monthly basis following six consecutive months where they were flat or declining, and increased on an annual basis by the biggest percentage since hitting bottom in March 2012.

The median sales price of U.S. residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $164,500 in March, up 1% from February and up 10% from March 2013.

March was the 24th consecutive month where U.S. median home prices increased on an annual basis, and the 10% annual increase was the biggest annual percentage increase in that 24-month span.

“Sales volume also increased slightly from March to February following four consecutive monthly decreases, but both annual sales volume and median prices are still below their recent peaks in October and August respectively,” Blomquist continued. “Meanwhile, the distressed share of sales increased from the fourth quarter to the first quarter nationwide and in 38 states, which — along with many non-distressed homeowners regaining enough equity to list their homes for sale — is helping to ease low inventory conditions in some markets.”

We’ve noticed that inventory levels and home prices are climbing in the Southern California market as homebuyers and sellers re-awaken after a very long winter that affected housing markets throughout the nation,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market, which as HousingWire reported, is heating up.

Investors and second home buyers account for 34% of all sales in March.

In March, 34% of all U.S. residential property sales were to buyers with a different mailing address than the property address — most likely investors or second home buyers.

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