March 21 - Existing home sales increased 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 4.98 million units, the latest sign the housing market recovery is accelerating. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is 4.98 million. Existing home sales hit a three-year high in February, swelling 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 4.98 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. One reason: higher prices are convincing home owners to put their property on the market. The median cost in February rose 11.6 percent from a year ago to almost $174,000. Also, sales of previously owned home were revised higher for January to 4.94 million units from 4.92 million. Overall, the lift in resales is the latest indication that the housing market is gaining more ground. Earlier data showed builders broke ground on more houses in February and permits for future construction approached a five-year high. Historically-low interest rates, ushered by the Federal Reserve, have held mortgage rates near record lows and is a major reason why the housing market is coming back.