Home prices continue climbing, boosted by short supply 

The relentless climb in U.S. home prices and tightening supply threaten to cool the hottest housing market in 15 years, sending frustrated homebuyers to the sidelines, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The median price for existing home sales rose to $329,100 in March, a new high according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices soared 17.2% last month from a year earlier, marking the biggest price increase in NAR data going back to 1999. 

The median sales price in the Baton Rouge area is rising, too, with the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors reporting a 9.6% increase year-over-year in March. 

Steepening prices, combined with a scarcity of inventory that has left the U.S. housing market millions of homes short of buyer demand, have taken some steam out of the market at the start of the peak spring selling season. The local housing market is following the same trend, with months supply of inventory down 64%. 

The NAR says the supply constraints are creating a fiercely competitive bidding climate where homes are sitting on the market for shorter periods than ever before. The typical home that sold in March spent only 18 days on the market, the fastest pace on record. In the Baton Rouge area, that number stood at 67 days, 20% less time on the market than a year ago, according to GBRAR. 

Spring is when many families try to buy homes so they can move before the start of a new school year. Some real estate executives say inventory is likely to increase in the coming months, as sellers try to take advantage of seasonal activity. Increased vaccination rates could also make sellers feel more comfortable about the potential risk of letting strangers tour their homes. Read the full story on the national real estate climate from WSJ here and see the Baton Rouge area housing report here.