Existing-Home Sales Rise 3.7% in March

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales were up 3.7% in March. This indicates that the U.S. housing market recovery is going in the right direction, …

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales were up 3.7% in March. This indicates that the U.S. housing market recovery is going in the right direction, even though the overall sector is still weak. Read more about this in the full article from The Street.

Existing-home sales rose 3.7% in March to a slightly better-than-expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday morning, pointing to a small step toward recovery in the U.S. housing market.

Economists’ consensus call had been for the figure to come in at 5.00 million units, according to estimates listed on Briefing.com, compared with a rate of 4.88 million units sold in February. March’s rate remained 6.3% below year-earlier levels, and 24.8% below the cyclical peak of 6.49 million units in Nov. 2009, which was the first month following the initial deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, and 2.8% below the home resale rate in February of 2010.

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The housing sector is well off its 2010 late-spring peak, when buyers were rushing to take advantage of federal tax credits for homebuyers, and is only slightly higher than at the beginning of 2010. Whereas other sectors have begun a rebound in earnest, the housing sector continues to lag.

The SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB), an exchange-traded fund that tracks the homebuilder sector, remains around 60% off its peak of $46.08 in early 2006. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (ITB) ETF remains more than 70% off its peak of $50.10 in the spring of 2006.

Much of the sector was in positive territory Wednesday morning ahead of the existing-home sales report.

Among individual builders, PulteGroup (PHM) added 0.5%, D.R. Horton (DHI) gained 1.1%, Lennar (LEN) 0.3% and Toll Brothers (TOL) 0.3%.

Small-cap builder KB Home (KBH) lost 0.1%.

This article was republished with permission from The Street.

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