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Housing market: Sales up nationwide; foreclosures up in New Jersey

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If home sales are the true measure of the economy, New Jersey is getting plenty of not-so-great news this month.

A few weeks after New Jersey took over the top spot in the nation for foreclosures, a report out Friday said new home sales nationwide rose in April by the most in six months.

The Commerce Department released data showing a 6.4 increase in sales in March, to 433,000, as the home buying season gets underway.

"We definitely are seeing a rebound in activity," Anika Khan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C., told Bloomberg news before the report. "We are in the middle of the home-buying season and should start to see a bit more pickup with more traditional buyers coming into the market."

Just not necessarily in New Jersey.

Increasing sales in the Midwest and South led the way. Sales in the Northeast fell.

Foreclosures, however, were up.

A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association earlier this month said 8.12 percent of all mortgaged homes in New Jersey were in the process of foreclosure during the first three months of the year.

That rate was down year to year, but up from three months prior, making New Jersey the only state to see an increase in that period.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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