IRVINE, Calif. – April 24, 2014 – RealtyTrac's March Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report finds that U.S. residential properties – single family homes, condominiums and townhomes – sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,253,464 in March, an increase of 0.4 percent from February and up 8 percent from a year ago. The report has slightly different results than National Association of Realtors® (NAR) numbers issued Tuesday, which include only Realtor-assisted transactions.

RealtyTrac's median sales price in March – including both distressed and non-distressed sales – was $164,500, up 1 percent from February and up 10 percent from March 2013. March was the 24th consecutive month where U.S. median home prices increased on an annual basis, and the 10 percent annual increase was the biggest annual percentage increase in that 24-month span.

"The housing market showed signs of coming out of hibernation in March after a sluggish fall and winter," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Median home prices increased on a monthly basis following six consecutive months where they were flat or declining. Sales volume also increased slightly from March to February following four consecutive monthly decreases."

Investors and second home buyers accounted for 34 percent of all sales in March based on a look at the number of buyers who listed a home address different than the sale property.

Furthermore, 7 percent of all sales in March were multi-parcel transactions where more than one property was sold on the same date and recorded on the same sales deed document. Multi-parcel transactions are not always reported buy a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Despite the annual increase in residential sales volume nationwide, sales volume in March decreased from a year ago in six states and 21 of the nation's 50 largest metro areas.

Florida sales

RealtyTrac found a 1 percent increase in March home sales month-to-month and also a 1 percent increase year-to-year. It found a statewide price decline of 2 percent month-to-month, but an 11 percent price increase year-to-year.

In some cities, prices continue to rise but at a slower pace. RealtyTrac points to Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., as one example, where median home prices are up 86 percent from their bottom in November 2010. But while Cape Coral-Fort Myers recorded a peak year-to-year price increase of 30 percent in January 2013, its year-to-year price increase in March was 14 percent.

According to RealtyTrac analysts, many of the cities that are seeing a slower price increase are the ones that also saw the biggest price bounce earlier in the rebound.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®  Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved