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Storms, Holidays, and COVID-19 Shaped March Housing Metrics

The median home sale price hit an all-time high, reaching $341,250, which is a 17% increase from last year at this time, according to a report from Redfin. Meanwhile, the economic team at Fannie Mae upgraded its quarterly home price forecast to 8.0% in 2021 (previously 4.2%), followed by deceleration to 2.9% in 2022 (previously 2.5%), as measured by the FHFA Purchase-Only Index.

It's important to note that at this time last year homebuying came to a halt, or at least a pause, due to pandemic stay-home orders and recommendations.

Thus, Team Redfin broke its analysis into two sections: "Metrics that are acceptable to compare to the same period in 2020, and metrics for which it makes more sense to compare to the same period in 2019."

Homebuyer demand: One of several housing market indicator charts available on Redfin.com


The holidays, as well as limits in inventory, should be taken into account when evaluating the stats for the four-week period ending April 11, Redfin's researchers explained.

"The Easter holiday may have contributed to the latest decline in new listings, as many Americans were spending time with family instead of putting their homes on the market. The overall lack of homes for sale is limiting how much home sales can grow," said Redfin Lead Economist Taylor Marr. "However, Redfin's homebuyer demand index is up 4.3% from a month ago, revealing that house hunters are still out in full force. They're jumping on low mortgage rates, which are sliding back down toward 3%, and bidding up prices of the homes that do hit the market. The good news for buyers is that they should start to see more homes listed now that Easter is behind us."

Homes that sold during the period were on the market for a median of 23 days, the shortest time on the market since 2012 and 15 days fewer than the same period in 2020.

More on Fanniemae.com

The economists at Fannie Mae echoed the commentary from team Redfin, saying that while the magnitudes were somewhat greater than anticipated, most housing-related metrics pulled back sharply in February as expected due to harsh weather and the related power outages.

New home sales fell 18.2% over the month while pending sales declined by 10.6%. Existing home sales, which lag contract signings by about 30 to 45 days, on average, will therefore likely be considerably weaker in March and perhaps April.

"However, we believe a strong rebound is likely to follow," they added.

The full Fannie Mae Economics Report is available at Fanniemae.com.

The full Redfin report is available at Redfin.com.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at [email protected].

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