Contracts to buy existing homes rose in March, and would have increased even more it it wasn’t for a historically low supply of for-sale listings nationwide.
The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors increased 1.5 percent month to month which was better than the 1.0 percent increase that economists expected. It is 7 percent higher than March of 2012.
“Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply,” said the Realtors’ chief economist Lawrence Yun in a release. “Little movement is expected in the near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses.
The lack of inventory is due to several factors but one of the newer trends is that many sellers are waiting to put their homes on the market because they are waiting to see how much further home prices will increase.
Regionally, the Realtors’ pending home sales index was unchanged in the Northeast from February, up 0.3 percent in the Midwest, up 2.7 percent in the South and up 1.5 percent in the West.