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Published: Friday, 7/25/2008

Existing-home sales decline to 10-year low


WASHINGTON - Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in June to the lowest in a decade, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday.

Sales dropped by 2.6 percent last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million units. The decline was more than double analysts' estimates and left sales 15.5 percent below where they were a year ago.

Sales are down by about a third from a record of 7.25 million reached in September, 2005.

The median price dropped in June to $215,100, down by 6.1 percent from a year ago and the fifth largest year-over-year price drop on record.

Inventories of unsold single-family homes and condominiums rose 0.2 percent to 4.5 million units. At the June sales pace, that would be a 11.1-month supply, the second highest in the past 24 years.

The glut may be larger because not all foreclosed properties are counted by the Realtors group. It includes only foreclosures on the multiple listings service.

Sales dropped in all regions of the country in June except the West, which posted a 1 percent increase. Sales fell by 6.6 percent in the Northeast, 3.4 percent in the Midwest, and 3.1 percent in the South.

Existing-home sales account for about 85 percent of the U.S. housing market, and new-home sales make up the rest. Monthly figures for resales are compiled from contract closings and may reflect sales agreed upon weeks or months earlier.

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