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Realtor.com March Housing Report: Spring Thaw Lures Buyers Back into the Housing Market

March 30 2023

Despite slim pickings and affordability challenges, buyers got a jump on spring shopping in March, but rising rates could cause a late-spring frost

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 30, 2023 -- Spring is officially here, and like green shoots emerging from the bleak winter, new data suggests that more buyers are back in the market, although more subdued compared to a year ago. According to the Realtor.com® Monthly Housing Trends Report released today, the recent six-month surge in active listings lost momentum, moderating to 59.9% year-over-year, and time on market shrank to 54 days, from January's high of 74 days, as buyers eased back into the market in March, but higher mortgage rates could freeze them back out.

"Signs show that buyers are active in the spring housing market, even if they aren't as numerous as they were during the pandemic. Amid fewer new choices on the market and still rising home prices, home shoppers have shown that they are very rate sensitive, only jumping back in the market when rates dip, and so what happens with rates this spring will likely play a strong role in determining whether the housing market bumps along or picks up speed this year," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com®. "With so much built up equity, home sellers are still faring well, but many are sitting on the sidelines. The usual seasonal pick-up in buyer demand appears to be underway, one of several factors that make spring the Best Time to Sell. With an uncertain market ahead, it may be even more important for potential sellers to aim for this year's seasonal sweet spot."

Now may be the best time to sell, and homeowners need to put their best foot forward

If homeowners are planning to sell in 2023, now is the time to get ready. Realtor.com®'s Best Time to Sell analysis found that nationally, the week of April 16-22, 2023 will bring sellers the best combination of market conditions this year, including higher home prices, fewer other homes for sale, a faster sale, and stronger demand.

"Well-priced, move-in ready homes with curb appeal in desirable areas are still receiving multiple offers and selling for over the asking price in many parts of the country," said Realtor.com®'s Executive News Editor Clare Trapasso. "So this spring, it's especially important for sellers to make their homes as attractive as possible to appeal to as many buyers as possible. They should make any necessary repairs, spruce up the landscaping, and invest in staging and professional photographs. Homes that are priced too high, are in need of major repairs, or aren't presented professionally are often sitting on the market for longer and sometimes selling for under the initial asking price."

March 2023 Housing Metrics – National

rdc march 2023 housing report 1

Lack of new homes coming on to the market a drag on home sales

The U.S. inventory of active listings continued to climb in March over last year's lows, but the rate of growth cooled slightly from the brisk pace seen the previous two months. With new listings remaining scarce in March, the rise in the number of homes for sale is a reflection of more time spent on the market compared to last year rather than an influx of new sellers. A lack of new homes to the market continues to be a drag on home sales; attitudes toward housing worsened in February, especially among potential sellers, which likely signals ongoing weakness in the number of new homes for sale this year. Higher interest rates continue to create affordability challenges for buyers, and fewer homes went under contract compared to last year.

  • The U.S. supply of active listings for sale rose 59.9% compared to this time last year, but it is still 49.6% below pre-pandemic 2017 - 2019 levels, on average. There were 211,000 more homes available to buy in March compared to one year ago.
  • Newly-listed homes for sale continued to fall in March (-20.1%) compared to this time last year. This is a higher rate of decline than last month's 15.9% decrease and 29.7% below pre-pandemic 2017 - 2019 levels. Pending listings, or homes under contract with a buyer, declined year-over-year (-24.5%).
  • The number of homes for sale across the 50 largest metros was up 74.4% compared to a year ago. The South saw the highest growth in active listings (+127.4%).
  • Among the 50 largest U.S. metros, 47 markets saw active inventory increase compared to last March, with the most growth in Austin (+312.2%), Raleigh (+273.7%), and Nashville (+253.3%). Only three markets had inventory declines on a year-over-year basis, including Milwaukee (-17.2%), Hartford (-17.0%), and New York (-0.9%).

Home prices continue to rise but could decline compared to last year as early as summer

In March, national median list prices continued to rise year-over-year, but the rate at which prices are rising slowed to the lowest level since June 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this rate of slowing, list prices could decline relative to last year as early as this summer, following the recent national median sale price decline, which fell annually for the first time in 10 years last month. The share of homes with price reductions is up significantly from last year, but dipped below 2017–2019 pre-pandemic levels in February and continued to decline in March, indicating that the smaller number of homeowners who are putting their homes up for sale appear to be readjusting their home price expectations to the realities of today's market.

  • The national median listing price was $424,000 in March, up from $415,000 in February. Annual list price growth continued to slow to 6.3% over last year, the lowest rate of growth since June 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among the 50 largest U.S. metros, the biggest annual listing price gains continue to be in the Midwest, up 14.1%, on average from last year. The metros with the biggest asking price increases were Memphis, Tenn. (+40.3%), Milwaukee (+26.3%), and Kansas City, Mo. (+17.7%); however, in these metros the mix of inventory also changed and more larger, expensive homes are for sale today.
  • In March, 12.6% of active listings had their price reduced, up from 5.8% a year ago.
  • Nine out of the largest 50 markets saw their median list price decline in March. Large southern metros (+9.1 percentage points) continued to see the largest increase in the share of listings with price reductions, and the greatest year-over-year declines in the median list price were seen in Austin, Texas (-8.4% year-over-year), Las Vegas (-6.7%), and New Orleans (-5.1%).

Homes are taking longer to sell, but not as long as pre-pandemic levels

A typical home spent more time on market compared to last year, although after rising steadily from summer 2022, the usual seasonal pickup in the sales pace shrank the gap and homes sold faster in March than in January and February, suggesting that buyers are active in the market, even if they are not as numerous as this time last year. Even though the typical home listing was on the market for more than two weeks longer than this time last year, homes are still selling just over two weeks faster on average than before the pandemic boom.

  • In March, the typical home spent 54 days on market, 18 days longer than this time last year, but still 15 days faster than the pre-pandemic March 2017-2019 average.
  • Across the 50 largest U.S. metros, time on market was lower in March relative to the national pace, 46 days on average, and was 16 days slower than March 2022.
  • Time on market increased compared to last year in all 50 metros with the greatest increases in Raleigh, N.C. (+42 days), Kansas City, Mo. (+37 days), and Austin, Texas (+37 days).

March 2023 Housing Metrics – 50 Largest U.S. Metro Areas

rdc march 2023 housing report 2

*Some St. Louis listing metrics have been excluded while data is under review.


Realtor.com® housing data as of March 2023. Listings include the active inventory of existing single-family homes and condos/townhomes/rowhomes/co-ops for the given level of geography on Realtor.com; new construction is excluded unless listed via an MLS that provides listing data to Realtor.com. Realtor.com® data history goes back to July 2016. 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

About Realtor.com®

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