Sales of existing homes rose 5.1 percent from January to February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

Distressed sales accounted for 40 to 45 percent of transactions, and total housing inventory grew 5.2 percent, to 3.8 million existing homes for sale.

Sales of existing homes rose 5.1 percent from January to February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

Distressed sales accounted for 40 to 45 percent of transactions, and total housing inventory grew 5.2 percent, to 3.8 million existing homes for sale.

At the current pace of sales, that’s a 9.7-month supply of homes, unchanged from January but down from the record of 11.2 months seen in July. A six-month supply of housing is generally seen as a healthy balance between supply and demand.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $165,400 in February, down 15.5 percent from a year ago. The median home price was pushed down by sales of distressed homes, which are selling for 20 percent less than normal market price, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The median condominium price was down 18.2 percent from a year ago, to $172,200, and sales of existing condos and co-ops were up 11.4 percent from January, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 490,000 units. Looking back a year, condo sales were down 13.1 percent.

The median existing single-family home price was down 15 percent from a year ago, to $164,600, and sales rose 4.4 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.23 million units. That’s 3.6 percent below the pace of sales a year ago.

Regionally, California saw a strong gain in sales, with the median listing price on the rise for the first time in three years.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 2.6 percent from January to February, to an annual rate of 1.2 million, but were down 30.4 percent increase from a year ago. The West has also seen the greatest year-over-year price declines, with median price falling 30.3 percent from a year ago, to $204,600.

In the Northeast, sales were up 15.6 percent from January to an annual pace of 740,000, but are down 14.9 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $251,200, down 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1 percent from January to an annual pace of 1.04 million, down 14 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $131,000, down 7.8 percent from a year ago.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 6.1 percent from January to an annual pace of 1.74 million, but were down 11.2 percent from a year ago. The median price in the South was $146,700, down 10 percent from a year ago.

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