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Finding the Right Home for Right Now


Finding a New Home for Your Next Stage of Life

Imagine the first place you lived as a young adult. Now imagine trying to fit your life today into that space. Not pretty, right? 

For most of us, our housing needs are cyclical.1 A newly independent adult can find freedom and flexibility in even a tiny apartment. That same space, to a growing family, would feel stifling. For empty nesters, a large home with several unused bedrooms can become impractical to heat and clean. It’s no surprise that life transitions often trigger a home purchase. 

While your home-buying journey may not look like your neighbor’s or friend’s, broad trends can help you understand what to keep in mind as you house hunt. No one wants to regret their home purchase, and taking the time now to think about exactly what you need can save a lot of heartache later.

The Newly Married or Partnered Couple

The financial and legal commitment of marriage has provided a springboard to homeownership for centuries, though these days more couples are buying homes without exchanging rings. In the last few decades, changing demographics have shifted the median age of first marriage and buying a first home into the late 20s and early 30s, planting most newly married or partnered buyers firmly in the millennial generation.2,3 But no matter your age, there are some key factors that you should consider as you enter into your first home purchase together.

Affordability is Key

There’s no doubt about it—with high student loan debt and two recessions in the rearview mirror, many millennials feel that the deck is stacked against them when it comes to homeownership. And it’s not just millennials—Americans of all ages are facing both financial challenges and a tough housing market. But stepping onto the property ladder can be more doable than many realize, especially in today’s low mortgage rate environment. 

While many buyers are holding out for their dream home, embracing the concept of a starter home can open a lot of doors.4 In fact, that’s the route that most first-time homebuyers take—the average home purchase for a 20-something is about 1,600 square feet. While the average size increases to around 1,900 square feet for buyers in their 30s, it’s not until buyers reach their 40s that the average size passes 2,000 square feet.5

Chosen carefully, a starter home can be a great investment as well as a launchpad for your life together. If you focus on buying a home you can afford now with strong potential for appreciation, you can build equity alongside your savings, positioning you to trade up to a larger home in the future if your needs change.6

Taking Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are historically low, making now the perfect time to purchase your first home together. A lower interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, which can significantly increase the quality of home you can get for your money. 


But what if both halves of a couple don’t have good credit? You may still have options. First, boosting a credit score can be easier than you think—simply paying your credit cards down below 30% of your limit can go a long way. But if that’s not enough to boost your score, you might consider taking out the mortgage in only the better-scoring partner’s name. The downside is that applying for a mortgage with only one income will reduce your qualification amount. And if you take that route, make sure you understand the legal and financial implications for both parties should the relationship end.

Commute and Lifestyle Considerations

Whether you’ve lived in a rental together for years or are sharing a home for the first time, you know that living together involves some compromises. But there are certain home features that can make life easier in the future if you identify them now. The number of bathrooms, availability of closet space, and even things like kitchen layout can make a big difference in your day-to-day life and relationship. 

Your home’s location will also have a significant impact on your quality of life, so consider it carefully. What will commuting look like for each of you? And if you have different interests or hobbies—say, museums vs. hiking—you’ll need to find a community that meets both your needs. Need some help identifying the ideal location that fits within your budget? We can match you with some great neighborhoods that offer the perfect mix of amenities and affordability.

The Growing Family

Having kids changes things—fast. With a couple of rowdy preteens and maybe some pets in the mix, that 1,600 square foot home that felt palatial to two adults suddenly becomes a lot more cramped. Whether you’ve just had your first child or are getting to the point where your kids can’t comfortably share a bedroom any longer, there’s plenty to consider when you’re ready to size up to a home that will fit your growing family. 

The Importance of School Districts

For many parents, the desire to give their kids the best education—especially once they are in middle and high school— surpasses even their desire for more breathing room. In fact, 53% of buyers with children under 18 say that school districts are a major factor in their home buying decisions.7 Of course, better funded (and often higher ranking) schools correspond to higher home prices. However, when push comes to shove, many buyers with kids prefer to sacrifice a bit of space to find a home in their desired location.

But when you’re moving to a new community, it can be tough to figure out what the local schools are actually like—and online ratings don't tell the whole story. That’s why talking to a local real estate agent can be a gamechanger. We don’t just work in this community; we know it inside and out.

Lifestyle Considerations

For many families, living space is a key priority. Once you have teenagers who want space to hang out with their friends, a finished basement or a rec room can be a huge bonus (and can help you protect some quieter living space for yourself). 

A good layout can also make family life a lot easier. For example, an open plan is invaluable if you want to cook dinner while keeping an eye on your young kids playing in the living room. And if you think that you might expand your family further in the future, be sure that the home you purchase has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate that comfortably. 


Try to think about how each room will fit into your day-to-day. Are you anticipating keeping the house stocked to feed hungry teenagers? A pantry might rise to the top of the list. Dreading the loads of laundry that come with both infants and older kids (especially if they play sports)? The task can be much more bearable in a well-designed laundry room. Imagine a typical day or week of chores in the house to identify which features will have the biggest impact.

Chances are, you won’t find every nice-to-have in one home, which is why identifying the must-haves can be such a boon to the decision-making process. We can help you assess your options and give you a sense of what is realistic within your budget.

The Empty Nesters 

When we talk about empty nesters, we usually think about downsizing. With kids out of the house, extra bedrooms and living space can quickly become more trouble than they’re worth. While the average buyer under 55 trades up to a larger home, buyers over 55 are more likely to purchase a smaller or similarly sized but less expensive home. Even in the highest age groups, the majority of home purchases fall in the single-family category. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, by the time buyers reach their 70s, the median home size drops to 1,750 square feet.5 But there’s plenty for empty nesters to think about besides square footage.

Maintenance and Livability

What factors are driving your decision to move? Identifying those early in the process can help you narrow down your search. For example, do you want to have space for a garden, or would you prefer to avoid dealing with lawn care altogether? What about home maintenance? In many cases, a newer home will require less maintenance than an older one and a smaller one will take less time to clean. You may also want to consider townhomes, condos, or other living situations that don’t require quite as much upkeep. 

Lifestyle Considerations

Many empty nesters have retired or are nearing retirement age. This could be your chance to finally pursue hobbies and passions that were just too hard to squeeze into a 9-5. If you’re ready to move, consider how you’d like to spend your days and seek out a home that will help make that dream a reality. For some, that might mean living near a golf course or a beach. For others, being able to walk downtown for a nice dinner out is the priority. And with more time to spend as you wish, proximity to a supportive community of friends and family is priceless. 

Ability to Age in Place

Let’s face it—we can’t escape aging. If you’re looking for a home to retire in, accessibility should be front-of-mind.8This may mean a single-story home or simply having adequate spaces on the first floor to rearrange as needed. While buying a home that you plan to renovate from the start is a viable option, being forced into renovations (because of the realities of aging) a few years down the road could seriously dig into your nest egg. Location matters, too—if your family will be providing support, are they close by? Can you easily reach necessities like grocery stores and healthcare? While it’s tempting to put it out of our minds, a few careful considerations now can make staying in your home long-term much more feasible.

Finding the Right Home for Right Now

One thing is for sure—life never stands still. And your housing needs won’t, either. In the United States, the median duration of homeownership hovers around 13 years.9 That means many of us will cycle through a few very different homes as we move through different life stages. At each milestone, a careful assessment of your housing options will ensure that you are well-positioned to embrace all the changes to come.

Whatever stage you’re embarking on next, we’re here to help. Our insight into local neighborhoods, prices, and housing stock will help you hone in on exactly where you want to live and what kind of home is right for you. We’ve worked with home buyers in every stage of life, so we know exactly what questions you need to ask. Buying a home—whether it’s your first or your fifth—is a big decision, but we’re here to support you every step of the way.

We support the Fair Housing Act and equal opportunity housing.



  1. Freddie Mac -
  2. PRB -
  3. Experian -,by%20real%20estate%20marketplace%20Zillow
  4. Nerdwallet -
  5. NAR 2020 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report -
  6. Investopedia -
  7. NAR 2019 Moving With Kids
  8. Kaiser Health News -
  9. National Association of Realtors -,varies%20from%20area%20to%20area

Essex County May Housing Report May 10, 2021

One year after Covid-19 decimated our economy & jobs,
Single Family median prices up an eye-popping 20.8% from last year. 


Month Over Month, April 2021 vs March 2021

  • Median Sales Prices Up for Singles and Multis and Down for Condos:
  • Single Families +10.9%;  Condos -4.5%;  Multi-Families +7.2%
  • Unit Sales Up Sharply, Buyer Demand Is Strong:
    Single Families +35.9%, Condos +13.3%, Multi-Families +30.2%.
  • Active Listings Down as we move into Spring:
    Single Families -2.1%, Condos -1.4%, Multi-Families  -9.4% 

Year Over Year, April 2021 vs April 2020

  • Median Sales Prices Up Double Digit for Single Families and Multis: 
    Single Families +20.8%; Condos +8.5%;  Multi-Families +25% 
  • Unit Sales Up Sharply:
    Single Families +23.9% , Condos +31.4%, Multi-Families +78.3%.
  • However, Active Listings Continue to Plunge:
    Single Families -51.7%; Condos -34.5%; Multi-Families -34.6% 



To view data for every Essex County town, go to:

To Download the full housing report go to:



Essex County April Housing Report April 10, 2021

Essex County April Housing Report 4/10/2021 - Covid 19

Inventory still remains at record low levels, prices up strongly year over year and sold units remain sluggish from lack of inventory. 

Month Over Month, March 2021 vs February 2021

  • Median Sales Prices Up for Condo and Down for Singles and Multis:
     Single Families -1.1%;  Condos +2.7%;  Multi-Families -1.4%
  • Unit Sales Up Sharply for Singles, Condos and Multis:
    Single Families +8.0%, Condos +22.6%, Multi-Families +19.2%.
  • Active Listings Up for Singles but fell for Condos and Multis:
    Single Families +9.1%, Condos -4.6%, Multi-Families  -4.9% 

 Year Over Year, March 2021 vs March 2020

  • Median Sales Prices Up Double Digit: 
    Single Families +11.2%; Condos +10.1%;  Multi-Families +8.6% 
  • Unit Sales Off:
    Single Families -15.3% , Condos +1.6%, Multi-Families -4.6%.
  • Number of Active Listings Plunged to Near Record Lows:
    Single Families -56.8%; Condos -44.7%; Multi-Families -44.3% 

To view data for every Essex County town, go to:

To Download the full housing report go to:



Is the Real Estate Market Going to Crash?

Is the Real Estate Market Going to Crash?

While many areas of the economy have contracted, the housing market has stayed remarkably strong. But can the good news last?

When COVID-related shutdowns began in March, real estate brokers and clients scrambled to respond to the shift. Record-low interest rates caused some lenders to call a halt to new underwriting, and homeowners debated whether or not to put their houses on the market. However, those first days of uncertainty ushered in a period of unprecedented demand in the U.S. real estate market, which ended the year with increasing average home prices (up 13.4% from the previous year) and shrinking days on market (13 fewer than in 2019).1

Now, as the spring market approaches, you may be wondering whether the good times can continue to roll on. If you’re a homeowner, should you take advantage of this opportunity? If you’re a buyer, should you jump in and risk paying too much? Below we answer some of your most pressing questions.

How is today’s market different from the one that caused the 2008 meltdown?

At the beginning of the pandemic, fears of an economic recession and an ensuing mortgage meltdown were top of mind for homeowners all across the country. For many buyers and sellers, the two seemed to go hand in hand, just as they did in the 2008 economic crisis.

In reality, however, the conditions that led to 2008’s recession were very different from those that triggered the current downturn—and this time, the housing market is the source of much of the good news.2 This is in line with historical patterns, as housing prices traditionally hold steady in the face of recession, with homeowners staying put and investors putting their money into bricks and mortar to ride out uncertainty in the stock market. 

This time around, because of lessons learned in 2008, banks are better funded, homeowners are holding more accrued equity, and, crucially, much of the economic activity is focused on financial factors outside the housing market. As many industries quickly pivoted to work-from-home, early fears of widespread job loss-related foreclosures have failed to materialize. Federal stimulus payments and the Paycheck Protection Program also helped to offset some of the worst early effects of the shutdown.

Are we facing a real estate bubble?

A real estate bubble can occur when there is a rapid and unjustified increase in housing prices, often triggered by speculation from investors. Because the bubble is (in a sense) filled with “hot air,” it pops—and a swift drop in value occurs. This leads to reduced equity or, in some cases, negative equity conditions.

By contrast, the current rise in home prices is based on the predictable results of historically low interest rates and widespread low inventory. Basically, the principle of supply and demand is working just as it’s supposed to do. In addition, experts predict a strong seller’s market throughout 2021 along with increases in new construction.3 This should allow supply to gradually rise and fulfill demand, slowing the rate of inflation for home values and offering a gentle correction where needed.

Effects of low interest rates

According to Freddie Mac, rates are projected to continue at their current low levels throughout 2021.4 This contributes to home affordability even in markets where homes might otherwise be considered overpriced. These low interest rates should keep the market lively and moving forward for the foreseeable future.

Effects of low inventory

Continuing low inventory is another reason for higher-than-average home prices in many markets.5 This should gradually ease as an aggressive vaccination rollout and continuing buyer demand drive more homeowners to move forward with long-delayed sales plans and as new home construction increases to meet demand.6

Aren't some markets and sectors looking particularly weak?  

One of the big stories of 2020 was a mass exodus from attached home communities and high-priced urban areas as both young professionals and families fled to the larger square footage and wide-open spaces of suburban and rural markets. This trend was reinforced by work-from-home policies that became permanent at some of the country’s biggest companies.

Speculation then turned to the death of cities and the end of the condo market. However, it appears that rumors of the demise of these two residential sectors have been greatly exaggerated. 

With the first vaccine rollouts, renters have begun returning to major urban centers, attracted by the sudden rise in available inventory and newly discounted rental rates.7 In addition, buyers who were previously laser-focused on a single-family home responded to tight inventory by taking a second look at condos.8 While nationwide condo prices continue to lag behind those of detached homes, they’ve still seen significant price increases and days on market reductions year over year.

In addition to these improvements, the 2020 migration has spread the economic wealth to distant suburban and rural enclaves that normally don’t benefit from increases in home values or an influx of new investment. As many of these new residents set up housekeeping in their rural retreats, they’ll revitalize the economies of their adopted communities for years to come.

How has COVID affected the “seasonal” real estate market?

Frequently, the real estate market is seen as a seasonal phenomenon. However, the widespread shutdowns in March 2020, coming right at the beginning of the market’s growth cycle in many areas, has led to a protracted, seemingly endless “hot spring market.”

While Fannie Mae’s chief economist Douglas Duncan predicts slower growth from 2020’s historic numbers, the outlook overall is positive as we embark on the 2021 spring selling cycle.9 Duncan anticipates an additional lift in the second half of 2021 as buyers return to business as usual and look to put some of their pandemic savings to work for a down payment. Thus we could be looking at another longer-than-usual, white-hot real estate market.

How will a Biden administration affect the real estate market?

Projected policy around housing promises to be a boost to the real estate market in many cases.10 While some real estate investors bemoan proposed changes to 1031 Exchanges, the Biden plan for a $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit aims to increase affordability and bring eager new home buyers into the market. In addition, Biden-proposed policy pinpoints low inventory as a primary driver of unsustainable home values and is geared toward more affordability through investments in construction and refurbishment.

Overall, according to most indicators, the real estate news looks overwhelmingly positive throughout the rest of 2021 and possibly beyond. Pent-up demand and consumer-driven policies, along with a continued low-interest-rate environment and rising inventory, should help homeowners hold on to their increased equity without throwing the market out of balance. In addition, the increase in long-term work-from-home policies promises to give a boost to a wide variety of markets, both now and in the years to come.  


While economic indicators and trends are national, real estate is local. We’re here to answer your questions and help you understand what’s happening in your neighborhood. Reach out to learn how these larger movements affect our local market and your home’s value. 


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  2. New York Magazine -
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  8. Washington Post -
  9. Mortgage Professional America -
  10. Inman -

Home Design & Remodeling Trends for 2021

5 Inspiring Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2021

We’ve all spent a lot more time at home over the past year. And for many of us, our homes have become our office, our classroom, our gym—and most importantly, our safe haven during times of uncertainty. So in 2021, it’s no surprise to see that designers are emphasizing soothing color palettes, cozy character, and quiet retreats.

To help inspire your design projects this year, we’ve rounded up five of the hottest home trends. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property in the next few months, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

1. Uplifting Colors

Colors are gravitating toward warm and happy shades that convey a sense of coziness, comfort, and wellbeing. This year’s palettes draw from earthy hues, warm neutrals, and soothing blues and greens.[1]

While white and gray are still safe options, expect to see alternative neutrals become increasingly popular choices for walls, cabinets, and furnishings in 2021. For a fresh and sophisticated look, try one of these 2021 paint colors of the year:

  • Aegean Teal (coastal blue) by Benjamin Moore
  • Urbane Bronze (brownish-gray) by Sherwin-Williams 
  • Soft Candlelight (muted yellow) by Valspar 

2. Curated Collections

After a decade of minimalism, there’s been a shift towards highly-decorative and personalized interiors that incorporate more color, texture, and character. Clearly-defined styles are being replaced by a curated look, with furnishings, fixtures, and accessories that appear to have been collected over time.[2]

This trend has extended to the kitchen, where the all-white fad is fading in popularity. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, consider mixing in other neutrals—like gray, black, and light wood—for a more custom, pieced-together feel.[3]

3. Reimagined Living Spaces

The pandemic forced many of us to rethink our home design. From multipurpose rooms to converted office/closets, we’ve had to find creative ways to manage virtual meetings and school. And designers expect these changes to impact the way we live and work for years to come.

Some home builders are predicting the end of open-concept floor plans as we know them.[4] Instead, buyers want cozier spaces with more separation and privacy. Cue the addition of alcoves, pocket doors, and sliding partitions that enable homeowners to section off rooms as needed.[3]

4. Staycation-Worthy Retreats 

With travel options limited right now, more homeowners are turning their vacation budgets into staycation budgets. Essentially, recreate the resort experience at home—and enjoy it 365 days a year.

To give your bedroom that “boutique hotel” look, start with a large, upholstered headboard in a rich color or pattern. Layer on organic linen bedding and a chunky wool throw, then add a pair of matching bedside wall lights.[5] In your bathroom, try a curbless step-in shower and freestanding tub for a modern and spacious feel.[3]

5. Outdoor Upgrades

From exercise to gardening to safer options for entertaining, the pandemic has led homeowners to utilize their outdoor spaces more than ever. In fact, backyard swimming pool sales skyrocketed in 2020.[6] But a new pool isn’t the only way to elevate your outdoor area this year.

Pergolas are a relatively quick and affordable option to add shade and ambiance to your backyard.[3] Another hot trend? Landscapers are reporting an increase in front yard enhancements, including porch additions and expanded seating options. These “social front yards” enable neighbors to stay connected while observing social-distancing guidelines.[7]


Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? We can share our insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!


  1. Good Housekeeping  -
  2. Homes & Gardens – 

  1. Houzz – 

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Essex County February Housing Report 2/8/2021

Essex County February Housing Report 2/8/2021 - Covid 19

Inventory remains at record low levels, Prices up strongly year over year, but Price Resistance Month over Month for Singles and Condos.

Month Over Month, Jan 2021 vs December 2020

  • Median Sales Prices Down for Singles and Condos, Up for Multis:
 Single Families -2%; Condos -2.1%; Multi-Families +4.7%

  • Unit Sales Plunged for Singles, Condos and Multis: 

    Single Families -40.8%, Condos -37.6%, Multi-Families -29.4%.

  • Active Listings (Inventory) Continue to Plummet: Single Families -33.1%; Condos -27.2%; Multi-Families -35.7% - record low inventory

Year Over Year, Jan 2021 vs Jan 2020

  • Median Sales Prices Up Double Digit: Single Families +11.4%; Condos +10.9%; Multi-Families +11.1%

  • Unit Sales Up: Single Families +0.9% and Condos +19.5% and Multi- Families +20.3%.

    • Number of Active Listings Plunged: Single Families -59.4%; Condos -47.0%; Multi-Families -44.1% - record low inventory

To view data for every Essex County town, go to:
To dowload the full Housing Report go to:

Essex County Annual Housing Report: 2020 vs 2019 & 2019 vs 2018

Essex County Annual Housing Report 1/23/2021 - Covid 19

For the comparative years: 2018 vs 2019 and 2019 vs 2020:


Median Sales Prices rose at an accelerated pace

2018 vs 2019, Median Sales Prices Rose:

+4.4% for Singles; +6.4% for Condos and +9.1% for 2-4 Units

2019 vs 2020, Median Sales Prices Rose:

+13.2% for Singles; +10% for Condos and 14.4% for 2-4 Units


The Number of Active Listings declined: 

2018 vs 2019, Change in Number of Active Listings (weighted average):

-5.7% Singles; +5.4% Condos and -19% for 2-4 Units

2019 vs 2020, Change in Number of Active Listings (weighted average):

-35.7% Singles; -26.1% Condos and -26.5% for 2-4 Units


Months of Inventory Fell (6 months is a balanced market):

2018 vs 2019, Change in Months of Inventory:

-10.7% to 2.5 months for Singles; + 4.3% to 2.4 months for Condos and -14.3% to 2.4 months for 2-4 Units

2019 vs 2020, Change in Months of Inventory:

-32% to 1.7 months for Singles; -25% to 1.8 months for Condos and -8.3% to 2.2 months for 2-4 Units


Essex County Housing Report September 2020

Essex County September Housing Report 9/13/2020 - Covid 19

Month Over Month, August 2020 vs July 2020
1. Median Sales Prices Up for Singles but Flat for CC and MF: Single Families +5.5%;  Condos +0.4%;  Multi-Families +0.9%
2. Unit Sales Slow: Single Families Down -1.6%; Condos Up 3.0%;  Multi-Families Down -6.0%
3. Number of Active Listings Continue to Drop by Double Digits: Single Families -11.8%; Condos -12.3%; Multi-Families  -14.7%
Year Over Year, August 2020 vs August 2019
1. Median Sales Prices Up Double Digit:  Single Families +15%; Condos +11.8%;  Multi-Families +10% 
2. Unit Sales were Mixed: Single Families -10.8%; Condos +1.3%; Multi-Families -33.7%
3. Number of Active Listings Plunged: Single Families -47.7%; Condos -38.1%; Multi-Families -48.8%
To view data for every Essex County town, go to: 
To dowload the full Housing Report go to:

Essex County Housing Report July 2020


Essex County July Housing Report 7/9/2020 - Covid 19

Month Over Month, June 2020 vs May 2020
1. Median Sales Prices Have Big One Month Gains: Single Families +8.2%;  Condos +4.5%;  Multi-Families +7.6%
2. Unit Sales Have Big Moves: Single Families Up 18.1%; Condos Up 63.8%;  Multi-Families Down 14.8%
3. Number of Active Listings Mixed: Single Families Down -3.5%; Condos Up 1.4%; Multi-Families Down -19.4%
Year Over Year, June 2020 vs June 2019
1. Median Sales Prices Up:  Single Families +7.1%; Condos +11.3%;  Multi-Families +9.0% 
2. Unit Sales Plunged: Single Families -26%; Condos -18.4%; Multi-Families -44.6%
3. Number of Active Listings Plunged: Single Families -45.6%; Condos -34.8%; Multi-Families -50.9%
To view data for every Essex County town, go to: 
To dowload the full Housing Report go to:

NAR, Existing March Home Sales Dip, Prices Up 8%, Inventory Drops to 3.4 Months

Despite a Dip in March, Home Sales Push Ahead


While existing-home sales dipped in March as the COVID-19 pandemic sparked stay-at-home restrictions across the country, they're not far off from the numbers a year ago, and home prices continue to rise.

The National Association of REALTORS®’ monthly existing-home sales—which includes completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—dropped 8.5% in March compared to February. Sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March—down just 0.8% from a year ago.

All four major regions of the U.S. reported a dip in sales last month. The West saw the largest drop, down 13.6% in March compared to February.

“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”

Home prices remain strong, even early in the pandemic. The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $280,600, up 8% from a year ago. Also, home prices rose in every region of the U.S. last month.

REALTORS® are still finding ways to get sales done amid social distancing and stay-at-home measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have seen an increase in virtual home tours, e-signings, and other innovative and secure methods that comply with social distancing directives,” says Vince Malta, NAR president. “I am confident that REALTORS® and brokerages will adapt, evolve, and fight, ensuring the real estate industry will be at the forefront of our nation’s upcoming economic recovery.”

Here is a closer look at additional housing indicators from NAR’s report, reflecting March housing data:

Housing inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of March totaled 1.50 million units, up 2.7% from February but down 10.2% from a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace.

“Earlier in the year, we watched inventory gradually tick upward, but with the current quarantine recommendations in place, fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices,” Yun says. “Significantly more listings are needed and more will come on to the market once the economy steadily reopens.”

Days on the market: Properties stayed on the market an average of 29 days in March, down from 36 days in February and down from 36 days in March 2019. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers: First-time buyers comprised 34% of sales in March, up from 32% in February and from 33% a year ago. “Despite the social distancing restrictions, with many REALTORS® conducting virtual open home tours with mortgage rates on the decline, a number of first-time buyers were still able to purchase housing last month,” Yun says.

Investors: Individual investors or second-home buyers purchased 13% of homes in March, down from 17% in February and down from 18% a year ago. Investors tend to account for the biggest bulk of all-cash sales. All-cash sales comprised 19% of transactions in March, down from 21% a year ago.

Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales comprised 3% of sales in March, unchanged from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in March.

Midwest: Existing-home sales decreased 3.1% in March, reaching an annual rate of 1.25 million. Sales were down 4.2% from a year ago. Median price: $219,700, up 9.7% from a year ago.

Northeast: Existing-home sales dropped 7.1% in March. Sales were at an annual rate of 650,000, a 3% decrease from a year ago. Median price: $300,400, up 8.3% from March 2019.

South: Existing-home sales fell 9.1% to an annual rate of 2.29 million in March, up 0.9% from a year ago. Median price: $245,100, up 7.5% from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales dropped 13.6% to an annual rate of 1.08 million in March, a 0.9% decline from a year ago. Median price: $420,600, up 8% from March 2019.