On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors announced that sales of existing single-family homes rose in March to the second-highest level on record. Sales in March increased 5.7 percent from February to 6.48 million units. The record is 6.68 million in September 2003. Last month's sales were 12.7 percent above the level in March 2003.
The numbers, when combined with the Department's recent announcement of record new home sales and last week's announcement that the national homeownership rate tied the all-time record in the first quarter of 2004, provide further evidence that housing is a major factor in the current economic upswing.