According to RealtyTrac's latest Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report for March and the first quarter of 2014, U.S. residential properties sold at an estimated annual pace of roughly 5.2 million homes in March. March's figure was a point-4 percent increase from February. The median sales price for both distressed and non-distressed properties increased to $164,500, a 1 percent increase from February and a 10 percent increase from March 2013. According to RealtyTrac, March was the 24th consecutive month where U.S. median home prices increased on an annual basis.
Distressed sales also experienced a hike for the month. Short sales and distressed sales accounted for 16.4 percent of all sales in Q1, up from 14.5 percent from the previous quarter. However, the first quarter figure for 2014 was down from 18.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Nationally, short sales made up 5.6 percent of all sales in the first quarter, up from 5.2 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of short sales in the first quarter include Orlando, Tampa, Las Vegas, Miami, and Jacksonville.
Monthly data released Wednesday by HUD and the Census Bureau showed sales of new homes last month plummeted 14.5 percent from February to an estimated seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 384,000, the lowest figure in eight months. The last time transactions ran so low was last July, when they came to 383,000. The latest news is sure to be a disappointment for market analysts, who hoped sales would improve following the end of a harsh winter and the beginning of the year's busy season for housing.