Home prices in the 53 largest cities increased 5.8% in March from the same month last year, according to a report from real estate association RE/MAX.

The homes sold in March had a median sales price of $184,525. It was the second-straight month prices rose higher than the year-ago period. Before February, home prices landed below year-ago levels for 18 consecutive months. But home sales steadily picked up over the last nine months.

In March, home sales climbed 1.5% from last year and jumped more than 25% from February, according to the report.

“With buyers starting to jump into this market, this year’s selling season is shaping up to be the strongest we’ve seen in years,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX. “Although we don’t expect home prices to rise in every market at the same rate, the worst is definitely behind us, and a slow, steady recovery is taking hold.”

Detroit showed the largest increase in prices from last year, increasing 22.8%, followed by Miami (21.8%), St. Louis (18.5%) and Phoenix (18.2%).

The homes sold in March spent an average 101 days on the market, down from 104 last year.

Inventory also dropped to a 5.3-month supply, a roughly 2% dip from February and the 21st consecutive monthly decline. The shadow inventory of foreclosed homes or those on the verge of repossession spans into the millions, and is anticipated to begin growing again as the robo-signing freeze thaws.

But RE/MAX anticipates housing to rebound through the selling season.

“Following these trends, the spring and summer months should experience increased activity. With falling inventory and many markets witnessing multiple offers with bidding competitions, prices are likely to continue to rise in many areas,” according to the report.

jprior@housingwire.com

@JonAPrior

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