March Market Update

Price increases eased a bit last month by -.43% to $321,604 for the average sold price, but the median price increased by 4% to $286,000.  In Columbia, both the median and average prices declined, with the median down 2% to $286,250 and the average down 7% to $318,700.  Although overall prices might be slowing, Boone County is experiencing a split market based on price.  Homes listed under $400k saw a 5% increase in both the median and average price in March, accounting for 78% of the total sales in March.  Homes listed above $400k saw the median price dipped 6% and the average price slide down 10% but only accounted for 22% of sales for March.  

The number of months of inventory continues to escalate, up 122% to 1.91 months from last year, but inventory is still one month below the average of three months in the previous ten years.  Inventory levels persist to struggle from a lack of new listings.  New listings in March were 246, 100 units below the average during the last ten years for March.  Inventory also varies based on the list price. The months of inventory for homes priced under $400k was 1.30 months, and homes priced 400k to $999,999 had 4.98 months of inventory (zero sales occurred above $1 million in March).

Days on market increased again, up 62% to 39 days. However, DOM are still low compared to the average for March, which have been 62 days. 

For the first quarter of 2023, home sales in Boone County were down 20% compared to the first three months of 2022; however, during the first quarter of 2022, interest rates ranged from 3.4% to 4.86% for a 30Y FRM.  The median price increased by 4%, and the average price increased by 6%.  Pending sales from March were down 17%, which will more than likely create a slow start for the second quarter of the year. 

Single-family building permits overall were down 10% during the first quarter but were in line with the first quarter of 2019.  Permits issued by Boone County were up 38% from the same period last year, but permits in the City of Columbia were down 23%, and permits in Ashland declined 38%. However, permits in Columbia and Ashland did pick up in March after a sluggish start to the year. 

Mortgage rates remain volatile as a result of economic and banking system concerns.  The 30Y FRM started March at almost 7% and finished the month closer to 6.5%.  Mortgage rates during the first few weeks of April have been just as volatile, with the 30Y -FRM around 6.16%, pushing up mortgage demand for purchases nationally. 

Price direction will be interesting to watch for April.  In August of 2022, the median price dipped by .74%, but the following month in September, the average price jumped 23%.  With the spring market season underway and interest volatility creating opportunities for buyers, we could continue to see prices increase over the next few months while inventory still remains tight.  In addition, pricing listings are becoming more difficult based on the price range, where some listings in the entry to mid-level price are still receiving multiple offers and selling above asking price. 

SOURCE – Columbia Board of Realtors CEO, Brian Toohey, MBA, RCE, EPRO

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