Local home sales surge in March

Portland area home sales shot up in March, driven in part by a federal tax credit worth up to $8,000 to first-time buyers and $6,500 to move-up buyers.

There were nearly 52 percent more sales in March than a year ago and a whopping 77.2 percent more sales than in February, according to Regional Multiple Listing Service figures released Friday.

Compared to a year ago, pending sales increased 46.7 percent and new listings increased 35.3 percent.

The inventory of unsold homes dropped to 7.8 months from 12.9 months in February and 12 months a year ago. The figure refers to the amount of time it takes to clear out the inventory of unsold homes at the current pace of sales. A six-month level is considered healthy.

The inventory of houses for sale in Clark County dropped substantially in March as home sales improved, according to Portland-based RMLS. A 7.7-month supply of homes was listed in March, which was down from an 11.6-month supply in February

Local real estate agents attribute the shrinking inventory to higher demand for houses, as first-time and move-up home buyers rush to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates and tax credits set to expire April 30.

According to RMLS, when comparing the week of April 5 – April 11 with the week prior, the number of times an RMLS subscriber opened a Supra lockbox increased 33% in Washington and 26.6% in Oregon. Activity is on the rise as we move into the Spring season.

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