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Sales of Existing Homes Rose in March

Posted on 04 May 2009

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The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index reported that pending sales of existing U.S. homes rose in March for a second straight month, supporting views the housing market was close to hitting a bottom.

Meanwhile, US construction spending rose a slim 0.3 percent in March in the first increase since September, according to government data that beat analysts' forecasts of a 1.5 percent drop.

The NAR survey is based on contracts signed in March, rose 3.2 percent to 84.6. February's pending home sales index was slightly revised down to 82.0 from 82.1.

Compared to the same period a year ago, pending home sales rose 1.1 percent.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun attributed the rise in signed contracts for home purchases to first-time buyers taking advantage of favorable affordability conditions, including an $8,000 tax credit.

"We need several months of sustained growth to demonstrate a recovery in housing, which is necessary for the overall economy to turn around," said Yun.