There was a 3.7 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in March from February, the National Association of Realtors reports.
Still, at a 5.1 million annual rate, sales remained 6.3 percent below the level of March 2010.
And the increase from February was driven in part by investors and others who snapped up bargain-priced foreclosed homes, not by a return to the market by first-time buyers. According to NAR:
"All-cash sales were at a record market share of 35 percent in March, up from 33 percent in February; they were 27 percent in March 2010. Investors accounted for 22 percent of sales activity in March, up from 19 percent in February; they were 19 percent in March 2010."
First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of sales, vs. 34 percent in February and 44 percent in March 2010. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.