Existing home sales surged 6.8% in March, as buyers were spurred by the government’s tax credit that expires at the end of this month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Thursday, April 20.
Sales, which beat analysts’ expectations, rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million homes in March, up from 5.01 million in February, when sales fell 0.6%, and 16.1% above the 4.61 million homes in the same month in 2009. Analysts predicted sales would increase 4.6% in March, according to a poll by Reuters.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement it was encouraging to see a broad home sales recovery in nearly every part of the country.
“Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running,” Yun said. “The home buyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices.”
The NAR said that first-time buyers purchased 44% of homes in March, up from 42% in February. Investors accounted for 19% of transactions.