February home sales dropped 3% from one year ago, but increased from January, according to the RE/MAX national housing report. It’s the first time in four months that the yearly difference did not improve from the previous month. Prices were also down, according to the report. Home prices fell 5.9% below the mark last year, the largest yearly drop since April 2010, when prices showed an 8.5% decrease from the year before. Homes spent more time on the market in February as well. On average, a home took 103 days to sell, up from 92 one year ago and 99 from the month before. In February, the housing inventory reached a 9.3-month supply in the 54 metro areas, up from 8.8 months one year before. A balanced housing market usually holds a six-month supply of homes. But the spring buying season is starting to brighten. When compared to the month before, February home sales increased 3.3%. Five of the previous seven months all showed declines. “It’s a very good sign that home sales increased over January, which could mean that sales will increase further as we move into springtime, the prime home buying season,” RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly said. “If this trend for home sales does continue, we could also see home prices start to move up, as well.” In February, 17 of the 54 metro areas RE/MAX monitors saw higher sales than one year ago, and 10 of those had sales increase in the double-digits. Albuquerque, N.M., was one of them. There, sales increased 22.8% from last February, followed a 25% climb in Miami and a 22% increase in Tampa, Fla. Areas seeing the largest increase in prices were 11.2% increase in Anchorage, Alaska, a 6.3% uptick in Jackson, Miss. and a 4.9% rise in Pittsburgh. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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