US home resales hit 10-year high in Q1

Home resale numbers and prices across the country jumped in the first three months of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of existing homes jumped 1.4 percent from the previous quarter to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.6 million, the highest rate since the first quarter of 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing NAR figures.

The national median home price hit $232,100, a 7 percent jump from the same period last year and the biggest increase in two years, according to the newspaper. Out of the 178 markets covered in the NAR survey, 85 percent saw increases in single-family homes. Thirty metropolitan areas saw double-digit annual price gains in the first quarter.

With prices and interest rates rising, affordability will continue to be a problem, economists said. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate has risen to just over 4 percent from around 3.5 percent in November, according to the newspaper.

“There will be some choke point where people can no longer afford to buy,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, told the Journal.  [WSJ]Miriam Hall