The National Association of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes (all types) increased 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but that sales remained 6.3% below the pace of March 2010.

Single-family home sales rose 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million in March from 4.28 million in February, 6.5% below the 4.76 million level of March a year prior.

"Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we’re clearly on a recovery path," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain, primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage."

It’s also worth noting that distressed properties, which made up an estimated 40% of all sales in March, continue to drag down prices, with the average distressed property selling at a 20% discount to market. (Big Builder)

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