U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rose in March to Highest Pace Since 2007

By Sarah Chaney and Ben Leubsdorf Features Dow Jones Newswires

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose 4.4% in March from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million, the highest pace in more than a decade, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected sales would rise a more modest 2.0% to a 5.59 million pace last month.

Last month's rebound came after purchases fell in February, and took the pace of existing-home sales to its highest level since February 2007.

Compared with a year earlier, sales in March were up 5.9%.

Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, said buyer demand has remained surprisingly strong despite rising prices and tight inventory. Sales are "doing much better than I anticipated, particularly in light of affordability challenges," Mr. Yun told reporters.

The median sales price in March was $236,400, up 6.8% on the year, and there was a 3.8-month supply of homes on the market at the end of the month.

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News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2017 10:22 ET (14:22 GMT)