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U.S. Existing Home Sales Rose 5.1% in March

There were 1.98 million existing homes available for sale at the end of March, down...

WASHINGTON—Sales of previously owned homes rose in March, a sign of recovery in the market after a rocky start to the year although housing inventory remained tight.

Sales rose 5.1% in March from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The result beat economists’ expectation for a sales gain of 4.3% to a rate of 5.30 million.

February’s sales pace was revised down slightly to 5.07 million. March’s sales were 1.5% higher than a year ago.

The “underlying reality remains the same: housing demand is solid and steady, but there aren’t enough houses on the market to keep up,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

The National Association of Realtors said there were 1.98 million existing homes available for sale at the end of March, down 1.5% from a year earlier and a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace.

Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, described demand as sturdy but...


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