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March Home Sales Increase Across the Board


The U.S. housing market strengthened in March, with both new and existing home sales gaining. However, analysts warned that sales are likely to weaken again when Federal tax credits for homebuyers expire at the end of this month.

New homes sales jumped 26.9% above February sales, according to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. March sales were 23.8% above March 2009.

Sales in the South spiked 43.5%, while Northeast region sales jumped 35.7%. The West and Midwest showed modest gains at 5.7% and 4.3% respectively.

Supply on the market dropped to 6.7 months from 8.6 months in February. The median price dropped to $214,000 from $221,600.

Existing home sales rose 6.8% in March and supply retreated to 8 months from 8.5 months in February. The median existing home price for the month was $170,700, up 3.7% versus. February and 0.4% ahead of last March.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the homebuyer tax credits and "favorable affordability conditions," helped drive sales in March, beginning what the industry hopes will be a spring surge in sales.

"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 chief economist.

Read the full NAR news release here.

Read the Hud/U.S. Census Bureau news release here.