WASHINGTON (4/23/15)--Home prices, existing-home sales and purchase mortgage application activity recorded recent strong periods of growth, according to several reports related to the housing market released Wednesday.
Existing-home sales jumped 6.1% in March to 5.19 million annualized units sold, and on an annual basis climbed 10.4%, according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) data (
Single-family home sales rose 5.5% and sit 10.9% higher on a year-over-year basis, while multifamily home sales posted an 11.1% jump from February and sit 7.1% higher annually.
"The share of first-time homebuyer purchases now exceeds 30% after being below that rate for most of the past two years," said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, Moody's analyst (
). "Still, that share needs to be closer to 40% in order for a sustained recovery in total sales and the homeownership rate to take place."
Along with the uptick in sales, inventory continues to tighten, according to Moody's, a trend that has accelerated home-price appreciation.
In the Federal Housing Finance Agency's purchase-only house price index, released Wednesday, home prices rose 0.7% in February, climbing 5.4% on an annual basis.
The NAR data showed that, in March, prices rose 8.7% on a year-over-year basis, with the median existing single-family sales price climbing to $213,500.
Additional housing numbers:
- The composite index for the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage applications survey rose 2.3% last week, with purchase applications posting a 5% increase;
- Over the last month, purchase applications have jumped 14.4%, pushing them 10.5% above their year-ago levels; and
- Mortgage rates dropped during the week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate falling to 3.83% from 3.87%, and the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rate climbing 7 basis points to 2.89%.