Existing-home sales edged up 0.3% in March in the face of rising mortgage rates and slowing house price appreciation, which dropped into single digits for the first time in over two years.The National Association of Realtors reported that March sales of single-family homes, condominiums, and cooperatives rose from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.90 million in February to 6.92 million in March. NAR chief economist David Lereah noted that sales of previously owned homes were down only 4% in the first quarter from last year's record pace and said sales may be "plateauing," with modest declines in coming months. His forecast calls for a 6% decline in home sales and price appreciation slowing to 6.4% this year. The median price increased at an annual rate of 7.6% in March, compared with 10.6% in February. Meanwhile, the single-family market is holding up fairly well in terms of properties up for sale. However, the inventory of unsold condo units has jumped by 85% in the past four quarters to a 6.9-month supply. There is a 5.3-month supply of single-family homes. NAR economists say they expect condo sales to drop 8% this year. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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