WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - After reporting a bigger than expected drop in U.S. existing home sales in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Friday showing that existing home sales rebounded to their highest level in ten years in March.
The report said existing home sales jumped 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.71 million in March after slumping by 3.9 percent to a downwardly revised 5.47 million February.
Economists had expected existing home sales to climb by 2.2 percent to a rate of 5.60 million from the 5.48 million originally reported for the previous month.
With the much bigger than expected increase, existing home sales surged up to their highest level since reaching 5.79 million in February of 2007.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said, 'The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month.'
'Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain,' he added. 'Sales will go up as long as inventory does.'
The report said the median existing home price for all housing types was $236,400 in March, up 3.6 percent from $228,200 in February and up 6.8 percent from $221,400 in the same month a year ago.
NAR said the number of existing homes available for sale jumped 5.8 percent to 1.83 million at the end of March from 1.73 million at the end of February but is still down 6.6 percent year-over-year.
The unsold inventory at the end of March represents 3.8 months of supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from the end of February.
The report also said single-family home sales climbed by 4.3 percent to a rate of 5.08 million in March, while existing condominium and co-op sales increased by 5.0 percent to a rate of 630,000.
Next Tuesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of March.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX