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Sales Of Existing Homes Down 9.6 Percent; Median Price At Nine-Year Low

There was a 9.6 percent drop in sales of previously owned homes in February from January, the National Association of Realtors just reported. The decline followed three straight monthly increases.

And, according to NAR:

"The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $156,100 in February, which is 5.2 percent below February 2010. Distressed homes — sold at discount — accounted for a 39 percent market share in February, up from 37 percent in January and 35 percent in February 2010. 'The decline in price corresponds to the record level of all-cash purchases where buyers — largely investors — are snapping up homes at bargain prices,' [NAR chief economist Lawrence] Yun explained. 'We'd be seeing greater numbers of traditional home buyers if mortgage credit conditions return to normal.' "

According to The Associated Press, the medial sales prices fell to its lowest level since April 2002.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.