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Investors and first-time buyers pushed Las Vegas region home sales higher than a year ago for the seventh consecutive month in March as they snapped up nearly 2,800 foreclosure resales. With so many sales involving distressed properties, the median price paid for a home continued a two-year slide to its lowest level since late 2000, a real estate information service reported.

Nearly 74% of the Las Vegas-area houses and condos that resold in March were foreclosure resales, meaning those homes had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, according to MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

A total of 4,268 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) last month, up 28.7% from February and up 35.1% from a year ago. It was the highest sales total for any month since last September, but was still the lowest for any March since 1998.

March marked the 12th consecutive month in which sales of existing single-family detached houses rose on a year-over-year basis, while resale condos have seen an annual sales gain for nine straight months. The tally for total home sales has been weaker because of the sharp decline in new-home sales, which have fallen year-over-year for 33 consecutive months.

The 470 new houses and condos sold in March was the lowest new-home total on record for that month in DataQuick's complete Las Vegas statistics, which go back to 1994. The lowest month for new-home closings was January 2009, when 249 sold.