Existing Home Sales Increase, Median Sales Price Declines

Existing home sales increased 2.3 percent from June, and are up 10.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported July 2012 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.47 million combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. That compares to 4.05 million units from the same period a year ago.

In July 2012, single-family existing home sales were up 2.1 percent from June. The July 2012 level of single-family existing sales was a seasonally adjusted 3.98 million units, up from 3.90 million in June, and 3.62 million units a year ago. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales were 490,000 in July 2012, up 4.3 percent from June.   

The total housing inventory at the end of July increased 1.3 percent from the previous month to 2.40 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales rate, the July 2012 inventory represents a 6.4-month supply which is down from a 6.5-month supply in June, and very much improved from the 9.3-month supply of homes a year ago. NAR reported 24 percent of June 2012 sales were distressed, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 25 percent in June, and down from 29 percent a year ago. The median sales price for existing homes declined to 187,300 from a downwardly revised $188,800 in June 2012, but was up 9.4 percent from the same period a year ago.

July 2012 all cash sales declined to 27 percent of transactions, down from 29 percent in June and 29 percent for the same period a year ago. Investors accounted for 16 percent of July 2012 home sales, down from 19 percent in June and 18 percent for the same period a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of July 2012 sales, up from 32 percent in June and 32 percent for the same period a year ago.   

The June 2012 Pending Home Sales Index decreased 1.9 percent from May.  So it was expected that existing home sales would decrease in July and August. Next month’s existing sales are expected to remain consistent with the pattern between existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index.

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