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Existing Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise in February

February existing-home sales and prices affirm a healthy recovery is underway in the housing sector, according to the National Association of REALTORS. Sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, while prices show 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says conditions for continued housing improvement are at play. Job growth in the improving economy and pent-up demand are causing home sales to rise. Though home prices are rising fast, historically low mortgage rates are still making home purchases affordable, he says. The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive. According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.53 percent in February from 3.41 percent in January; it was 3.89 percent in February 2012. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 in February but are 8.6 percent above February 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $238,800, which is 7.6 percent above a year ago. Information included in this article courtesy of RISMedia For more information visit www.realtor.org

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