Existing Home Sales Tumble In February

By Agence France-Presse Sales of existing U.S. homes tumbled 4.3% in February as the searing home market eased off a record pace in January, a realtors' report said March 25. Sales dropped 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.84 million homes, the closely watched National Association of Realtors' survey showed. February sales were down from a record rate of 6.1 million homes sold in January, even higher than first estimated. But the pace in February was still up 1.2% from the same period a year earlier. "After reaching an unprecedented level in January it was no surprise to see existing-home sales drop in February," the association's chief economist, David Lereah, said in a statement. "A disruption in normal buying patterns resulting from large areas of the country being buried in snow for days on end may show in later data." Home sales were being driven by low mortgage interest rates, said the association's president, Cathy Whatley. The inventory of unsold homes fell 6.6% to 2.14 million homes, a supply that would last 4.4 months at the February sales pace, down from 4.5 months in January, the association said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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