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Redfin: U.S. home prices, sales show strong gains as housing shortage continues

Median sale price increases 7.5% in the fastest market on record

Redfin reports that U.S. home prices rose 7.5% to a median sale price of $273,000 in March as home sales made a strong showing, gaining 8.9% over last year. However, the number of homes for sale declined 13% compared to March 2016, marking the 18th consecutive month of declines in supply.

The report indicated that 2017 remains on track to be the fastest housing market on record and the typical home that sold last month went under contract in 49 days, shaving 11 days from last year’s median time on market of 60 days. Nearly one in five, or 19.1%, homes that sold in March went under contract within two weeks and 21.7% of homes sold for more than their list price.

According to the report, 32 out of 90 metropolitan areas saw sales increase by double digits from last year. Poughkeepsie, New York, led in year-over-year sales growth, seeing a gain of 41%, followed by Baltimore, Maryland, which had an increase of 40.6% growth. Camden, New Jersey, rounded out the top three metro areas with a sales increase of 31.6%.

Four East coast cities saw inventory decline more than 30%. Rochester, New York, saw the largest inventory decline, dropping 39% since March last year. Buffalo, New York, saw a 34.5% decline, Rochester, New Hampshire, dropped 33.2%, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire dipped 31.4%. However, these areas also had fewer homes available on the market than last year.

A handful of cities did see modest inventory growth. Fort Myers, Florida, saw the highest increase in the number of homes for sale, up 32.4% from last year, followed by Knoxville, Tennessee, with 22.3% growth and Austin, Texas, which saw 10.3% growth.

“In addition to the laws of supply and demand, today’s open and immediate access to home listing information is really driving the velocity of home sales,” said Alec Traub, a Redfin Los Angeles agent. “In the past, buyers had to wait for their agent to tell them which homes were for sale. Now, when I meet a client for the first time, they already have a home in mind and I can jump in to guide them on what it will take to win it.”

Various Redfin agents recommend buyers provide assurances to both the seller and listing agent by working with a local, reputable lender and catering to the seller’s needs. This can ensure they don’t miss out on a home once they’re ready to make an offer.

“As a seller’s agent, the first thing I do when I receive an offer is ask who the lender is,” said Redfin agent Tiffany Aquino, who is based in Woodbridge, Virginia. Aquino added that the best offers come from buyers who are pre-approved by a local lender with a strong reputation for speed and reliability.

“If I’ve worked with the lender before and know they can fund the loan and close on time, I am sure to highlight that for my client,” Aquino said.

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