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May 22, 2014 10:20 AM, EDT
Sales of Existing Homes Rise for First Time in Four Months
David Ryder/Bloomberg News

Sales of previously owned homes rose in April for the first time in four months as the weather warmed, price increases slowed and more properties were put on the market.

Closings, which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, increased 1.3% to a 4.65 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors reported.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 4.69 million pace. The number of homes for sale jumped 16.8% in April.

“Affordability is good, the labor market is improving, banks are a little bit more willing to lend,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. “I think we are going to see sales recover, and we’ll get more inventory on the market, and that’ll help improve sales.”

The sales increase in April “is welcoming,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, told reporters as the figures were released. “I feel optimistic you would trend higher generally. Now with more inventory, I think there will be more buyers entering the market.”