Housing Sales Climb In February

By John S. McClenahen The conventional wisdom is that U.S. housing sales will slow significantly this year from last year's torrid pace. It's beginning to look as if conventional wisdom could be wrong. Sales of existing single-family homes increased 2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12 million units, the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on March 25. Remarkably, February was only the eighth month on record that the sales pace has reached or exceeded 6 million units, according to NAR. In January, the sales rate was 6 million units. "Currently, we are projecting that home sales will decline slightly [this year], but they remain at exceptionally high levels," acknowledges David Lereah, NAR's chief economist. "With a strong underlying demand for housing from a growing population in a recovering economy, we could be flirting with another record this year."

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