This has been a fabulous week for real estate sales. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes rose 6.8 percent in March and were 16.1 percent above the sales pace in March 2009.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun is encouraged to see a broad recovery in home sales. Two important trends he notes are that “sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running.”
In addition, the Commerce Department announced that sales of new homes surged 27 percent last month, well exceeding expectations. In fact, March was the strongest month since last July, and saw the largest monthly increase in 47 years.
It is clearly a great time to purchase a home, and buyers who act soon will be able to take advantage not only of the boisterous market, but also a federal homebuyer tax credit. In order to claim the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers or the $6,500 tax credit for repeat buyers, one needs to enter a binding contract to purchase a home by April 30, and close the transaction by June 30.