U.S. sales of existing homes increased 1.1 percent on a monthly basis in March, which suggests that buyers are undeterred by the dwindling number of properties available on the market.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.60 million, up from 5.54 million in February. This sales rate is higher than the 2017 total, but March sales were down slightly over the past 12 months.
The housing market continues to be in the grip of an inventory crunch that has restricted sales and growth in home ownership. Even as the overall economy has improved, there has been a 7.2 percent decline in listing from a year ago to just 1.67 million homes. The decline in listings could bottom out later this year because there has been a recent uptick in people listing homes that are then quickly purchased. But rising mortgage rates are also making it less likely that homeowners will choose to sell in order to buy another property at a higher interest rate.