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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Existing-home sales rise amid market sell-off

March sales of existing homes surged 6.8 percent to an annual rate of 5.35 million units, beating expectations as buyers rushed to take advantage of the home-buyer credit that expires at the end of this month.

Existing home sales are up 16.1 percent from March of last year and inventories now stand at an eight-month supply.

The surge was pushed by first-time home buyers, who made up 44 percent of all March sales.

The median sales price remained essentially flat at $170,700. Three-quarters of the March sales were for homes priced under $250,000.

Forecasters expected sales to rise to an annual rate of 5.29 million.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is experience a sell-off in early trading today, as concerns about the debt situation in Greece flare up again, Wall Street digests some disappointing earnings comments and uncertainty about financial regulatory reform rises.

The Dow is trading down eight-tenths of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are both down nearly 1 percent.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker.

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 22, 2010; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  Data , Treasury  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: New jobless claims fall but wholesale prices rise
Next: New home sales in March rocket past expectations


Of course home sales are going to soar. The deadline for the government "gimme" ($8000 or $6500) was about to run out. So guess we can expect another round of foreclosures in the future. The "gimme" wouldn't have been a bad idea if that money went into the down payment on the house, but it could be used for anything. I know people that used it to buy big screen tvs, iphones, and one couple bought a fishing boat. My opinion this was a bad idea from the very beginning.

Posted by: confusedwithgovernment | April 22, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"Wall Street is experience a sell-off..." doesn't anyone proofread these stories? I realize this passes spell check, but really, have someone else read it before you put a glaring error on the web.

Posted by: xcrunner771 | April 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree with confusedwithgovernment that it was a bad idea...but that $6500 sure felt good on my tax return this year!

Posted by: hoos3014 | April 22, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Stocks are up.

Banks are paying back the TARP

Banks are making money and starting to loan

Houses are selling

Jobs are being added

Healthe care is on the path to universal access

Banks are facing tough regulation

The US is again a world leader on important issued like proliferation

taxes are down on the middle class

College loans are more accessible

Alternative energy is being promoted and is springing up everywhere

Roads are fixed

Al Qaeda is on the ropes

on and on.

No wonder people think President Obama and the Democrats are failures......that is all they can manage in 15 months??????????

Posted by: John1263 | April 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Where's Palin when this good news that is getting more frequent? Maybe working on a grad degree that's likely to take her 25 years and 10 colleges to complete.

LOL, so true

Yep where was The Tea Party and Palin when for 8 years:

We went to war, for unfound weapons of mass destruction.

We lost jobs and the economy tanked from the Clinton years.

Detroit automakers tanked.

Hurricane Katrina response failed.

GWB got elected in 2000 with less votes than the loser. And his own VP has written a book about his failed 8 years.

Posted by: kedavis | April 22, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

First the government pressure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lend to anybody that looks human, creating the largest financial crisis in history. When that blew up, the government gives out more taxpayers' money to encourage people to buy houses and printing $1.4 trillion to lend out as mortgages. When this blows up, and it certainly will, the government will just give out houses to people arbitrarily.

Posted by: neolib | April 22, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Step right up carnival marks.

Posted by: garrafa10 | April 22, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

John1263, borrowing trillions of dollars from foreigners to bail out everybody is only kicking the can down the road while transferring private debts onto the shoulders of the taxpayers. It will blow up within 2 years in the form of an even bigger financial crisis. When it happens, interest rates and inflation will be double-digits. Massive bank failures will make the one in 2009 look like a minor cold. The government will have to raise taxes by 30% just to cover expenses.

Posted by: neolib | April 22, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes, there are still millins of home in default. Hurry and you can steal one from a neighbor for a dirt cheap price, since Oboma and Co. and not going to help any one.

It's all about helping the banks. The government does'nt care who buys a home as long as the bank is not stuck with a defaulting mortgage.

Posted by: maphound | April 22, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Two quick points:

If reagan and the two bush's had not run up so much debt for no discernible purpose then the current borrowing would not be a big deal at all.

And second, the choices facing the administration were not a "good bad" scenario. It was a bad and catastrophy scenario. NOT borrowing to get the economy going would have, according to the Fed, the IMF, and a slew of independant economists all say the same thing -- WITHOUT the actions President Obama took we would be in the midst of a global depression that would make the 1930s look like a republicon party convention.

Posted by: John1263 | April 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course sales of anything will surge when you're giving away other people's money to help buy them. A bad idea but just typical of this current administration. We've had "cash for clunkers", "cash for houses", and "cash for appliances". What's next? The debt is out of control and our politicians are like drunken sailors on leave. Heaven help us.

Posted by: brewstercounty | April 22, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey neolib - even Nostradamus will get it right one day & so will u too 1 day chump.

So when 2012 End of the world happen will you also say all the fiscal policies were @ fault?

Live for today - I don't see any1 helping me - so I surely am not going to help any1 else.

I get me some while I still can.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

brewstercounty, the drunken spending also went on between 2001 and 2007 ... on wars for - get this - weapons of mass destruction.

How you found those weapons?
No one else has.

In addition to wasted excessive $, lives have been lost also.

Posted by: kedavis | April 22, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Good Job ... this is the "free" market in action ...

The guys at Fannie, Freddie and FHA deserve a bonus -- affordable housing => we've got your "bottom" when home prices fall and houses become affordable.

US Housing Market is a joke ... sometimes it's wall-street to blame, some times ... consumers -- the government should try to look at itself more often in the mirror!

Posted by: free_np | April 22, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Raving about the increase in new home sales is like saying, "My broken arm is fixed a little bit, but both legs are dangling and are a bloody mess."

There are over 4 million homes in or about to enter foreclosure - the new home sales will only keep the housing bubble out of control. It's like running water into a bucket with a huge hole in the bottom!

There isn't anything positive about this news, because it doesn't relate to the real housing problem!
May God Bless America

Posted by: annie21 | April 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Fresh off of the press:

Sums up 2010 in the USA

Posted by: kedavis | April 22, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if "surge" is the right word. Living in a small city of 45 thousand with what seems about every third house for sale,I don't think I have seen more than a handful of SOLD signs since the first of the year.

Posted by: slim2 | April 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

John1263: So you believe all the carefully massaged statistics from the WH? You, and those like you, will be ill prepared when the economic implosion comes, because you are too economically and historically challenged to see the big picture. With the passage of Financial Reform, the Government will virtually control over 50% of our economic viability. Within 5 years, non tax payers will outnumber tax payers 2:1, leading to a total impovishment of our once solid middle class, via increasingly onerous taxation. Without a strong middle class, all past societies have crumbled into totalitarian dictatorships.

Posted by: apberusdisvet | April 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

For me the $8,000 will go for moving, new furniture and some of the closing cost that is now on the credit card in a very indirect way. Expect some furniture sales to go up. And some appliance sales to go up, too.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 22, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

" Without a strong middle class, all past societies have crumbled into totalitarian dictatorships."

And in the long run - everyone dies.

It is just a cycle to put up with.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 22, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


if homes sales rise it is may be the end of the crisis...
i think obama have done a right...

Posted by: jeanbarre | April 23, 2010 4:07 AM | Report abuse

I guess if you're going to buy you might as well take advantage of what ever incentives you can right? On that thought, could you let any first time buyers know about the info and contests at I think there are some great tips for people who want to take advantage of this credit before it expires.


Posted by: ewhitney | April 23, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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