Warmer weather and a desire to use the first-time home buyer tax credit caused a 5.6% increase in existing home sales last month, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
Sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units, compared with 5.02 million units in February. Last month's sales represented were 16.1% higher than those of March 2009.
Existing home sales rose from their February levels in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West by 6%, 7.2%, 7.1% and 6.6%, respectively.
Compared with March 2009, existing home sales increased in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West by 25.4%, 15.5%, 13.9% and 14%.
Total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 3.58 million units available for sale.
The national median existing home price was $170,700, compared with 165,000 in March and a 0.4% increase from March 2009.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.97%, compared with 4.99% in February and 5% in March 2009.