Home sales dropped in April, foreclosures declined

By The Associated Press | May 19, 2011 | 10:13 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April. But foreclosure sales declined while activity among first-time homebuyers increased.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of previously occupied homes fell 0.8 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units. That's far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

In April, sales of homes at risk of foreclosure fell 3 percent to 37 percent of all purchases. Purchases made by first-time homebuyers rose 3 percent to 36 percent.

Annual sales hit a record high of nearly 7.1 million homes in 2005. Since then, sales have fallen in four of the past five years before hitting a 13-year low last year.