Existing-home sales rose 6.8 percent in March and was 16.1 percent higher than the 4.61 million sold a year ago the National Association Of Realtors reported this week. The improved sales are in large part due to the homebuyer tax credit.
The national median sale price of existing homes was $170,700 in March, just 0.4% percent above a year ago. Housing inventory rose 1.5 percent to 3.58 million homes, which represents an 8.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.5-month supply in February.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 7.2 percent in March to a pace of 1.19 million and were 15.5 percent above March 2009. The median price inched up only 0.2 percent from a year ago.
First-time buyers accounted for 44 percent of home transactions in March, up from 42 percent in February. Distressed homes — typically short sales and foreclosures that sell for a discount — accounted for 35 percent of sales last month.
With home values stabilizing a bit, the hope is a revival in home buying confidence will help the housing market get back on its feet even as the tax credit disappears on April 30th.