An improved economy and a desire to use the first-time home buyer tax credit before it expired caused a 7.6% increase in existing home sales last month, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
Sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units, compared with 5.36 million units in March. Last month's sales were 22.8% higher than those of April 2009.
Existing home sales rose from their March levels in the Northeast, Midwest and South by 21.1%, 9.9% and 8.6%, respectively. They fell in the West by 6.2%.
Compared with April 2009, existing home sales increased in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West by 41.6%, 29.1%, 23%, and 5.2%, respectively.
Total housing inventory rose 11.5% to 4.04 million units available for sale.
The national median existing home price was $173,100, compared with $170,700 in March and a 4% increase from April 2009.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 5.10% in April, compared with 4.97% in March and 4.91% in April 2009.