From staff and wire reportsSales of previously occupied U.S. homes dipped in March as the supply remained tight. But the sales pace remained ahead of last year's.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million, from 4.95 million in February. February's figure was revised lower.

Sales in March were 10.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

In southeastern New Jersey, existing home sales were lower than March 2012, according to the regional Multiple Listing Service.

In Atlantic County, 192 MLS-listed homes were sold, 36 less than a year ago. In Cape May County, March sales reached 245, a decline of 47 from March 2012. And in Cumberland County, there were 54 sales, compared to 61 the previous March.

Sales have remained mostly unchanged in the past four months - largely, analysts say, because of a limited supply of homes. Economists still expect the housing market to continue recovering this year.

The low supply, combined with rising demand for housing, could accelerate construction in coming months. The Realtors' group said buyer traffic is 25 percent higher than it was a year ago.

"A disappointing result for U.S. existing-home sales, but with inventories still very tight, the outlook remains favorable," Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

Staff writer Brian Ianieri contributed to this report.

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