By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of previously-occupied U.S. homes ticked up last month to the highest level in three and a half years, helped by a jump in the number of houses for sale.
The National Association of Realtors says sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, up from 4.94 million in March.
Home sales have risen 9.7 percent in the past 12 months. Still, sales have changed little since November. The supply of available homes remains tight and many would-be buyers aren't able to get loans.
The number of homes for sale jumped to 2.16 million, up nearly 12 percent from the previous month. But inventory is still almost 14 percent lower than a year earlier.