Having gained 3.0 percent in February, the pace of existing-home sales in the U.S. inched up another 1.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million sales but is now running 1.2 percent lower versus the same time last year.

At the same time and with a bit of seasonality in play, the median price of the homes that traded hands last month increased 3.6 percent to $250,400, which is 5.8 percent higher on a year-over-year basis, versus 5.9 percent higher the month before, while the inventory of existing homes on the market rose 5.7 percent to 1.67 million but remains 7.2 percent lower versus the same time last year.

And out West, the pace of existing-home sales declined 3.1 percent in March to an annual rate of 1.23 million sales but remains 0.8 percent above the mark at the same time last year while the median sale price ticked up 1.8 percent to $377,100, which is 7.9 percent higher on a year-over-year basis versus 9.6 percent higher in February.

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