Why all the negative headlines? Home sales were up in March, not down. Yes, they were down from month to month, but month-to-month figures don’t matter! What counts is year-to-year trends.

Here’s the important fact: Total existing home sales increased to 4.48 million in March, up 5.2% from the 4.26 million-unit pace in March 2011.

March 2008: 4.95 million
March 2009: 4.61 million
March 2010: 5.35 million (homebuyer tax credit in effect)
March 2011: 4.26 million
March 2012: 4.48 million

(Note that these are “seasonally adjusted annual rates,” meaning that if every month was like March 2012, 4.48 million homes would be sold in a year.)

So we had drop, drop, tax-credit, drop — and now a gain. That’s good news.

Put another way, this is the first March since 2008 that we’ve seen an increase in sales, not counting the artificial 2010 bump.