Markets & Economy

Existing-home supply increases as sales dip

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Declining affordability and disruptively cold weather stymied sales of existing homes in February, but the number of homes for sale climbed heading into the spring buying season, the National Association of Realtors reported. “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. "With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.” Existing-home sales edged down 0.4 percent from January to February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million, a 7.1 percent decline from the same time a year ago, NAR said. Besides unusually cold weather and strict lending standards, housing observers say that substantial increases in both home prices and mortgages rates -- which RealtyTrac said pushed up the cost of financed homeownership by nearly a quarter over the last year -- have recently locked more would-be buyers out...