According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. real estate market remains hot ahead of the spring selling season, with existing home sales up 6.7 percent as of last measure. Experts attribute the growth in sales to an uptick in mortgage interest rates, as buyers rushed to lock down their home purchases before rates moved higher. Mortgage rates have increased almost a full percentage point since December, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage briefly exceeding four percent in February, the highest level since May 2019. 

New listings decreased 1.3 percent for residential homes and 13 percent for townhouse/condo homes. Pending sales decreased 3.7 percent for residential homes and 1.9 percent for townhouse/condo homes. Inventory decreased 22.7 percent for residential homes and 47.2 percent for townhouse/condo homes.

Median sales price increased 1.3 percent to $240,500 for residential homes and 5.7 percent to $185,000 for townhouse/condo homes. Days on market decreased 25.6 percent for residential homes and 23.9 percent for townhouse/condo homes. Months supply of inventory decreased 25 percent for residential homes and 52.9 percent for townhouse/condo homes.

Inventory was at an all-time low of 860,000 as February began, down 17 percent from a year ago and equivalent to 1.6 months supply. According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, much of the current housing supply is concentrated at the upper end of the market, where inventory is increasing, while homes priced at the lower end of the market are quickly disappearing, leaving many first-time buyers behind. The shortage of homes is boosting demand even further, and with bidding wars common in many markets, it’s no surprise sales prices continue to soar.