Housing is entering the heart of the spring season, but buyers are still not warming up to the market. Home sales are down across the nation as higher prices, tight credit and higher interest rates hold demand in a headlock. The nation's home builders are seeing improvements, but only on their higher-priced homes, which is where much of the focus is now.
Sales of homes priced above $750,000 increased 13 percent in February from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Homes priced below $250,000 fell 11 percent. Those lower-priced homes make up 64 percent of all home sales. The trouble on the lower end is that investors are finding less to buy as fewer homes fall into foreclosure. First-time home buyers, who should pick up the slack, are having trouble qualifying in today's mortgage market. Analysts argue this is no time for the Federal Reserve to be pulling out of the mortgage market.