Home sales fell 7.1 percent in March

By Victoria DeCarmine | April 28, 2009 03:42PM

The National Association of Realtors reported a 7.1 percent decline in existing home sales in March compared to March last year. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said he thinks the market is stabilizing and is experiencing modest monthly ups and downs.

Yun said the share of lower priced home sales has actually trended up, indicating that many first-time buyers are driving the current market. First-time buyers accounted for 53 percent of transactions in March, NAR reported.

NAR President Charles McMillan stressed the necessity of first-time buyers in this current market.

“With large numbers of first-time buyers entering the market it will become a little easier for sellers to trade up or down, according to their needs,” McMillan said in the report.

While first-time buyer purchases might be increasing, the Northeast region saw an overall 8 percent decline in existing home sales in March, bringing the number 22.5 percent lower than it was a year ago. Median prices have also been decreasing across the country, especially in the Northeast where the median price fell 18.4 percent to $231,700 from March 2008.