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Home sales slip amid tight supply

The National Association of Realtors said sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million.

Steven Senne/Associated Press

The National Association of Realtors said sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million.

WASHINGTON — Sales of previously occupied US homes declined in March as the supply remained tight. But the sales pace remained ahead of last year’s.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million, down from 4.95 million in February. February’s figure was revised lower.

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Sales in March were 10.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Sales have remained mostly unchanged in the past four months — largely, analysts say, because of a limited supply of homes. Economists still expect the housing market to continue recovering this year.

The low supply, combined with rising demand for housing, could accelerate construction in coming months. The realtors group said buyer traffic is 25 percent higher than it was a year ago.

A steady housing recovery is providing support to the economy this year. Builders are starting work on more homes, boosting the number of construction jobs. And home prices are rising. Higher prices tend to make homeowners feel wealthier and encourage more spending.

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