Existing home sales in March came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million, up from an upwardly revised 4.6 million in February.
Sales for March were 5.2 percent above the pace of sales in the same month a year earlier.
"The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
"With job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy, the pent-up demand is coming to market and we expect housing to be notably better this year," he said.
NAR said the median sales price for existing homes in March was $163,800, up 2.5 percent from a year earlier.
The report said the inventory of homes for sale fell 1.3 percent to 2.37 million, which comes out to a 6.3-month supply at the current rate of sales.
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