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Data: Investing.com, YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sales of existing homes fell 3.7% in March to a seasonally adjusted annualized 6.01 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday, the second straight monthly decline and the slowest sales pace since August. Go deeper (<1 min. read)

Yes, but: The median sales price for an existing U.S. home rose to a new record high of $329,100.

What it means: Dwindling supply and continued demand are sending prices higher and pushing more buyers out of the market, even as rates stall and begin to decline.

  • Homes sold in an average of just 18 days last month, NAR says, eclipsing the previous record fast pace seen in February.

Don't sleep: Since October, prices have risen by 5% while sales have fallen by 12%, according to an Axios analysis of NAR's data.

  • Since the start of the year, the divergence has been even more pronounced. Total sales have fallen by 10.2% since January, while prices have increased by 8.4%.

What to watch: Skyrocketing prices have put the market on a record pace and the Mortgage Bankers Association expects purchase originations to reach an all-time high of $1.67 trillion this year, even as they predict purchase volumes will decline by 14%.

  • MBA expects mortgage rates to continue rising to around 3.7% this year, contributing to a further slowdown in refinance demand.
  • Refinance originations are expected to fall by 33% to $1.62 trillion.

The bottom line: “The widening imbalance of supply and demand is driving up home-price growth and eroding affordability – especially for entry-level buyers,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA's chief economist and senior vice president for research and industry technology, says in a statement.

  • "[T]his environment sets the stage for higher mortgage rates and faster inflation."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Apr 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

Inflation looks to be not so transitory as price hikes continue

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Procter & Gamble became the latest company to announce it will raise its prices in September to respond to higher commodity costs, joining consumer giants like Kimberly-Clark, Smuckers, Coca-Cola and a host of others.

Why it matters: Fed chair Jerome Powell and other top economists have all but decreed that inflation is anchored and will not rise materially going forward, but a consistent drumbeat of price hikes from major companies, consumer reports and market data suggest the world may not be going along with their conclusion.

Tech's war for your wrist

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech's biggest companies are ramping up competition for the real estate between your hand and your elbow.

The big picture: The next big hardware platform after the smartphone will likely involve devices for your eyes, your ears and your wrists.

1 hour ago - World

Tokyo Olympics to allow up to 10,000 fans at each event

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto (L) and IOC President Thomas Bach on Monday. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics said Monday that venues can be filled up to 50% capacity when the Games kick off on July 23, with a maximum of 10,000 Japanese spectators at each event, AP reports.

Why it matters: Medical experts advising the Japanese government had recommended against allowing fans, citing the low vaccination rates in Japan and the potential for new variants to drive up infections.