Existing Home Sales Decline, Median Prices Increase

Existing Home Sales Decline, Median Prices Increase

by Stephen Melman — Eye on Housing

Existing home sales declined 5.4 percent from May, but are up 4.5 percent from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported June 2012 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.37 million combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. The May 2012 seasonally adjusted rate was revised upward to 4.62 million units, compared to the seasonally adjusted rate a year ago in June 2011 of 4.18 million units.

In June 2012, single-family existing home sales were 4.8 percent above the level of a year ago, but down 5.1 percent from May. The June 2012 level of single-family existing sales was a seasonally adjusted 3.90 million sales compared to 3.72 million seasonally adjusted single-family existing sales a year ago, and an upwardly revised 4.11 million seasonally adjusted single-family sales in May 2012. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales were 470,000 in June 2012, down 7.8 percent from May, and up 2.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

The total housing inventory at the end of June decreased 3.2 percent from the previous month to 2.39 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales rate, the June 2012 inventory represents a 6.6-month supply which is up from a 6.4-month supply in May, but still much improved from the 9.1-month supply of homes a year ago. NAR reported 25 percent of June 2012 sales were distressed, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was the same as May, but down from 30 percent a year ago. The median sales price for existing homes rose to $189,400 in June 2012, up 7.9 percent from the same period a year ago.

June 2012 all cash sales increased to 29 percent of transactions, up from 28 percent in May and the same as a year ago. Investors accounted for 19 percent of June 2012 home sales, up from 17 percent in May and the same as a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of June 2012 sales, down from 34 percent in May but up from 31 percent a year ago.

The May 2012 Pending Home Sales Index increased 5.9 percent from April.  So it was expected that existing home sales would increase in June and July. The decrease in June 2012 existing sales suggests an increase in next month’s existing sales, which would be consistent with the pattern between existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index.

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