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Phoenix-area home sales sluggish in March compared to last year

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — A recent real estate report showed a spring slowdown in the housing market, with the Phoenix area experiencing a larger year-over-year decline last month than the rest of the country.

The RE/MAX national housing report for March 2019 released last week studied housing activity in 54 markets nationwide.

The report showed that March home sales were down 11.3% in Maricopa County compared to the same month in 2018. The national decline was 8.6%.

In another sign of the slowdown in the Phoenix area, the average number of days on the market last month rose to 53, up from 49 in March 2018. The national average last month was 59 days.

Home prices, however, have continued to climb in the Valley while inventory shrinks.

The local median sales price increased to $267,000 last month, up from $265,000 in February and $254,900 in March 2018. The national median price was $246,000 last month.

Meanwhile, the supply of houses on the market in Greater Phoenix fell from from 2.5 months in February to 1.8 months in March. It was 1.9 months a year ago.

RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos saw positive signs in an increase of nearly 29% nationally in home sales from February to March. The Phoenix-area figure was slightly higher at just above 30%.

“It was encouraging to see month-over-month sales improve during March,” Contos said in a press release.

“Although the seasonal bounce that typically ends the first quarter wasn’t as strong as in the past few years, conditions are in place for a healthy spring selling season. Falling interest rates, rising inventory and moderating price increases against the backdrop of a healthy overall economy are cause for optimism for buyers and sellers alike.”

On the negative side, it was the smallest February-to-March sales increase since 2014, well below the 37% month-over-month increase in March from 2015 to 2018.

Nationally, the housing market has seen eight consecutive months of year-over-year sales declines.

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