Total existing-home sales -- including condominiums and co-operatives -- stayed at near-record levels in the first quarter, rising in 42 states and the District of Columbia from the levels recorded a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.The seasonally adjusted annual resales rate was 7.14 million units in the first quarter, up 7.2% from 6.66 million in the first quarter of 2003. However, the rate was down from 7.24 million in the fourth quarter, which was the second-highest level on record, the NAR reported. (The record rate of 7.36 million units was set in the third quarter of 2003.) The biggest year-over-year gains were recorded in Nevada, where the resale rate was up 44.3%; Alaska, up 30.5%; and Alabama, up 28.6%. The NAR can be found online at http://realtor.org.

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