Existing-home sales are up nearly 5 percent from last year, but sales would be much higher if it wasn't for the negative equity overhang, economists say.
The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that existing-home sales increased 4.7 percent in February compared to a year ago.
But with an improving labor market, home sales should be even higher, Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial Corp., told The New York Times. Home prices are higher too, which often correlates with rising home sales, according to Fleming's research.
"Rising prices only crimp affordability for the first-time buyer who doesn’t yet own the asset," Fleming told The New York Times. "But the vast majority of home sales are to existing home owners.