Existing Home Sales Tumble 3% in March

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2009 10:40 AM CDT
A home for sale is shown Wednesday, April 22, 2009, in Blue Island, Ill.    (M. Spencer Green)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – First-time homebuyers looking for bargains snapped up about half of all US homes sold last month, but the spring selling season got off to a lackluster start, with sales falling more than expected from February levels. Home sales fell 3% to an annual rate of 4.57 million in March from a downwardly revised pace of 4.71 million units in February, the National Association of Realtors announced today.

Sales had been expected to fall to an annual pace of 4.7 million units, according to Reuters. The results were "a little disappointing" given that homes are more affordable than they've been in years and mortgage rates are near record lows, said the group's chief economist. The median sales price in March was $175,200, a plunge of 12.4% from a year ago, but higher than February's median price of $168,200. (Read more existing home sales stories.)