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Home Sales Up From January, Lower Than Last Year

While February home sales were 3.3% higher than January, they were 3.0% lower than February 2010 in the 54 U.S. markets surveyed in the RE/MAX National Housing Report. This is the first time in four months that the year-to-year sales difference was not better than the previous month. However, the monthly rise does provide for some optimism, since five of the previous seven months saw sales lower than the previous month. Home prices were relatively unchanged from January, but experienced a 5.9% drop from last year. Housing inventories continue to fall, 2.2% from January and 8.9% lower than February 2010 levels.

"It's a very good sign that home sales increased over January, which could mean that sales will increase further as we move into springtime, the prime home buying season," said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. "If this trend for home sales does continue, we could also see home prices start to move up, as well." Transactions - Year-Over-Year Change

Rising from the slowest period of the year, February home sales grew 3.3% from January. While the year-to-year change in closed transactions has been improving for four months, February saw a 3.0% lower number of sales than February 2010. This February, 17 metro areas experienced higher sales than last year, with 10 of those metros seeing double-digit increases. Some markets experiencing impressive year-over-year sales growth include: Albuquerque, NM +22.8%, Miami, FL +25.1%, Tampa, FL +22.0%, Trenton, NJ +20.3%, New Orleans, LA +16.2%, and Phoenix, AZ +12.2%.

Median Sales Price - Year-Over-Year Change Month-to-month home prices in the report's 54 metro areas have remained relatively even for several months February 2011 was no different, with only a 0.9% drop from January. However, on an annual basis, February median home prices were 5.9% below February 2010. This represents the largest year-to-year price drop since the 8.5% decrease in April 2010. Like last month, 17 of the report's metros experienced a year-to-year increase in sales prices in February. Areas seeing the largest rise in home prices from last year are: Anchorage, AK +11.2%, Jackson, MS +6.3%, Pittsburgh, PA +4.9%, Charlotte, NC +4.4%, Honolulu, HI +3.7%, and Houston, TX +3.3%.

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