Home sales increasing, thanks to investors - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Home sales increasing, thanks to investors

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -

Investors drove up U.S. home sales last month, plunking down cash to grab cheap homes at risk of foreclosure.  But first-time home buyers, who are crucial to a housing recovery, stayed away.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of previously occupied homes rose last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million.  That's up 3.7 percent from February.  But the pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Foreclosures or short sales, when the lender agrees to accept less than is owed on the mortgage, rose to 40 percent of all sales.  Deals paid for entirely in cash accounted for 35 percent of all sales.  Sales among first-time home buyers fell to 33 percent.

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