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Sales of existing homes slip after record-setting March

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Sales of existing single-family homes slipped in April from the all-time record pace posted in March, according to a press release from the National Association of Realtors.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing-home sales dropped 3.3 percent in April to 5.24 million units, from a level of 5.42 million units in March.

Last month's resales were 6.3 percent above the 4.93-million-unit rate recorded in April 1998.

NAR President Sharon A. Millett said in the release that a slowdown was expected following unprecedented sales.

"We have to keep in mind that until last year, there's never been a sales pace above 5 million units sustained sales in this range speaks to the importance of homeownership and the positive economic factors that are allowing people to achieve this great American dream," she said.

James F. Smith, NAR chief economist, said April's sales decline is consistent with the upward blip in mortgage interest rates.

"The rise in interest rates earlier this spring caused a temporary postponement of purchase decisions we expect mortgage rates to decline in the near future and trend downward during the second half of the year," he said. "Existing-home sales in 1999 will be very close to last year's record," he added.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.92 percent in April, down from 7.13 percent in March[[In-content Ad]]


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