US home sales rise shoot up to 10-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans purchased homes in March at the fastest pace in over a decade, a strong start to the traditional spring buying season.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes climbed 4.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million. This was the fastest sales rate since February 2007.

The U.S. housing market faces something of a split personality: A stable economy has intensified demand from would-be buyers, but the number of properties listed for sale has been steadily fading. Sales listings have tumbled 6.6 percent over the past year to 1.83 million, limiting buyer choices and fueling higher prices.

The median sales price has risen 6.8 percent from a year ago to $236,400, more than double the pace of average wage gains.