Industry News

Home sales lag year-ago figures

Median price up from last year

Existing-home rose in February from January following five months of decline, but fell below year-ago figures, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales -- including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops -- increased 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.91 million units in February from an upwardly revised pace of 6.57 million in January, but were 0.3 percent below a 6.93 million-unit level in February 2005. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said mild weather appears to be responsible for some of the gain. "Weather conditions across much of the country were unseasonably mild in January and likely were a factor in higher levels of buyer activity, which boosted sales that closed in February," he said. "Higher interest rates had been tapping the breaks, notably in higher-cost housing markets since mortgage interest rates trended up last fall, but we're seeing signs of stabilization in the market now with the sa...