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March Home Sales Fall As Mortgage Rates, Home Prices Climb

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) -- Mortgage rates are now at the highest level they have been since 2010.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, home loan demand fell 5% last week compared to the week prior.

Demand for refinancing slid another 8% for the week and is 68% lower from the same time a year ago.

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes also slowed in March to the slowest pace in nearly two years, down 4.5%, amid the swift rise in mortgage rates and record-high prices which discouraged would-be homebuyers.

That's in line with what economists had been expecting, according to FactSet.

Rising mortgage rates are complicating the homebuying equation during the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest period for home sales.

Rates are rising following a sharp move up in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve moves to hike short-term rates in order to combat surging inflation.

Higher rates can limit the pool of buyers and cool the rate of home price growth — good news for buyers. But higher rates also weaken their buying power.

For now, the housing market continues to favor sellers as buyers vie for fewer homes, which drives bidding wars, often pushing the sale price well above what the owner was asking.

The median home price in March jumped 15% from a year ago at this time to $375,300. That's an all-time high on data going back to 1999, NAR said.

On average, homes sold in just 17 days of hitting the market last month.

It was 18 days in February. In a market that's more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market for 45 days.

As is typical in the spring, the number of homes on the market increased in March from the previous month.

Some 950,000 properties were available for sale by the end of March, up 11.8% from February, but down 9.5% from March 2021.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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