Having slipped 3.7 percent in February, the pace of existing-home sales in the U.S. ticked up 4.4 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million transactions, the highest pace since the 5.79 million sale pace recorded in February 2007 and 5.9 percent above the pace at the same time last year.

At the same time, the median price for the homes that traded hands in March ($236,400) was 3.5 percent higher than the month before and 6.8 percent higher versus the same time last year ($221,400) while the inventory of existing homes on the market rose 5.8 percent to 1.83 million but remains 6.6 percent lower on a year-over-year basis as opposed to 10 percent higher in San Francisco.

Out West, the pace of existing-home sales actually dropped 1.6 percent in March to an annual rate of 1.22 million sales but remains 5.2 percent higher versus the same time last year, down from 9.6 percent higher on a year-over-year basis in February.

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