Home Sales Fell in March; Has Market Stalled?

The Associated Press

By Derek Kravitz

WASHINGTON -- Americans bought fewer previously owned homes in March, a reminder that the housing market remains weak.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales fell 2.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million. That followed a revised 4.6 million sold in February.

A mild winter may have encouraged more people to buy earlier, essentially stealing sales from March.

More purchases in January and February made this the best winter for sales in five years. The increase offered some encouragement ahead of the spring-buying season.

Even with the gains, sales remain far below the 6 million per year that economists equate with healthy markets. And the weaker March figures suggest any momentum from the winter has stalled, said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG in New York.