*sniff* Smells like a housing slowdown, with notes of a buyer’s market

Some quick notes on the National Association of Realtor’s existing home sales data:

– existing home sales down about 5% from February to March

– NAR now expects 5.21 million home sales this year, down from 5.30 million it expected last month

– If every seller stopped listing homes, housing market could continue at this pace for about 4 months before we ran out of homes to buy

So what does this all mean for you as a homebuyer or seller? Not as much as you might think.

A decline in existing home sales isn’t a reason to freak out, even if you’re selling. Home sales in the U.S. tend to be pretty consistent year-over-year, even though the real estate industry obsesses over weekly and monthly data.

Take a look at this chart we’ve referenced before from Mortgage News Daily. There haven’t been fewer than 5 million home sales in the U.S. in 7 years. People are always buying unless times are especially tough.

So if you’re in the market to buy a home, the water’s warm—dive on in. You won’t find absolute steals like in a full-on buyer’s market, but sellers are feeling a little more pressure from headlines like this than they have for the past few years.

For both buyers and sellers—remember all real estate is local. Your housing decisions fuel this data, but it doesn’t have to be the other way around because the conditions you see on the ground will always be different from the big picture.

Maybe another bit of housing news out today will interest you—if you’re still on the fence about buying right now, you can now take a virtual tour of homes you want with Zillow and let envy make the decision for you.

Just be sure to actually stop by and smell the place before you commit.

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Reference:

Existing-Home Sales Slide 4.9% in March (NAR)

Do buyers finally control housing market? (The Basis Point)

House Hunting? Street Knowledge Beats Charts (The Basis Point)