Markets & Economy

Existing-home sales remain flat

Inventory rises 4.7 percent month over month

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Sales of existing homes in March underperformed by historical standards, with purchases remaining mostly flat, the National Association of Realtors reported today. Existing-home sales slid 0.2 percent from February to March, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, a 7.5 percent decline from a year ago, NAR said. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset by decreases in the West and South, the trade group reported. “There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.” Declining affordability, unusually cold weather and a persistent inventory shortage are among factors that have contributed to a housing slowdown in recent months. Pending home sales fell for the eighth straight month in February, suggesting that existing-home sales wouldn't substantially improve in...