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Existing home sales increased 5.1 percent nationally and 15. 6 percent in the Northeast, according to data released yesterday by the National Association of Realtors. The jump in our area still leaves the annual pace in the Northeast down 14.9 percent from a year ago; The median sales price is down 4.8 percent from a year ago.

First time buyers were responsible for roughly half of last month’s existing home sales, according toLawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Because entry level buyers are shopping for bargains, distressed sales accounted for 40 to 45 percent of transactions in February,” Yun said in NAR’s press release. “Our analysis shows that distressed homes typically are selling for 20 percent less than the normal market price, and this naturally is drawing down the overall median price.”

Image by TheTruthAbout, Flickr Creative Commons