Home resales fell in March but the supply of properties on the market tightened and prices inched higher, giving mixed signals about the pace of recovery in the still-struggling housing sector.
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The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that existing home sales slipped 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.48 million units last month.
However, February's sales pace was revised slightly higher to 4.60 million units from the previously reported 4.59 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales at a 4.62 million-unit sales pace last month.
And in a sign that the nation's glut of unsold homes was easing, inventories fell to 2.37 million. Realtors in some markets have reported shortages of housing stock, the NAR said.
Nationwide, the median price for a home resale rose to $163,800 in March, up 2.5 percent from a year earlier.
Distressed sales accounted for 29 percent of resales, down from 34 percent in February, the NAR said.