WASHINGTON, March 21 U.S. home resales hit a
three-year high in February and prices jumped, adding to signs
of an acceleration in the housing market recovery, even though
the supply of properties on the market increased.
The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday
existing home sales increased 0.8 percent to an annual rate of
4.98 million units last month, the highest level since November
2009. The January sales pace was revised up a 4.94 million units
from the previously reported 4.92 million units.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected home resales to
rise to a 5 million-unit rate.
The rise in sales last month was the latest indication that
the housing market was gaining more ground. Data this week
showed builders broke ground on more houses in February and
permits for future construction approached a five-year high.
A very accommodative monetary policy by the Federal Reserve,
which has held mortgage rates near record lows, is helping to
lift the housing market off the floor and lending the economy
much needed support.
Last month, the inventory of unsold homes on the market
increased 9.6 percent to 1.94 million. That represented a 4.7
months' supply at February's sales pace, up from 4.3 months in
Still, it remained below the 6.0 months that is normally
considered as a healthy balance between supply and demand.
The median home sales price in February rose 11.6 percent
from a year ago to $173,6000.