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Existing Home Sales Fall for 3rd Time in 5 Months Nationally

Existing Home Sales Fall for 3rd Time in 5 Months Nationally

6/28/2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of existing homes in May fell for the third time in five months, with the weakness led by a big drop in the Northeast.

The National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that sales of previously owned homes dropped by 1.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.67 million units compared with April’s totals.

The median price of the homes sold in May rose to $230,000, up 6 percent from the same month a year ago. That represented a slowdown from huge double-digit price gains last year at the peak of the housing boom.

By region, sales fell by the largest amount in the Northeast, a drop of 4.2 percent. Sales were down 3.8 percent in the Midwest.

Sales of existing homes managed to post small gains of 0.7 percent in the West and 0.4 percent in the South.

Sales of existing homes in the Valley increased nearly 14.9 percent between April and May, according to the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University Polytechnic. But the number of May sales was down 34.1 percent compared with that month last year, when the city was in the midst of an investor-fueled buying frenzy.

The Valley’s median home price was $265,000 in May. The real estate center breaks condos into a separate category.

Analysts said the national numbers show a classic pattern for a cooling housing market with sales starting to lag under the impact of rising mortgage rates.

David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors, said he expected sales to fall by 6.8 percent this year from last year’s all-time high.

By Glen Creno, The Arizona Republic, June 28, 2006

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