Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Real estate sales spike 16% in March

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Homebuyers were out in force in March, raising the existing-home sales rate both month-to-month and year-over-year, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. Sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops jumped 16.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units compared with 4.61 million units in March 2009, the report said. Sales rose 6.8 percent from February's 5.01 million units. "Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "The homebuyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices." The federal homebuyer tax credits -- up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and up to $6,500 for repeat buyers -- are set to expire April 30. Homebuyers must have a signed sales contract b...