By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
?AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to the highest level in more than three years, further evidence of a sustained housing recovery that is benefiting the broader economy.
According to the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 0.8 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million. That was the highest sales pace since November 2009, when a temporary home buyer tax credit had boosted sales. The February sales pace was also 10.2 percent higher than the same month a year ago.
Steady hiring and near-record-low mortgage rates have helped boost sales and prices in most markets.
The Realtors’ group says the median price for a home sold in February was $173,600. That’s up 11.6 percent from a year ago.