Home resales in the U.S. rose in June for a third consecutive month, spurred by tax incentives, lower borrowing costs and foreclosure-driven declines in prices.
Purchases climbed 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.89 million, stronger than forecast and the highest level since October, the National Associiation of Realtors said today in Washington. Median prices fell 15 percent.
The gain in sales confirms Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s remarks this week that the worst housing slump in eight decades appears to be moderating. A record drop in household wealth, due in part to the plunge in property values, and mounting unemployment are among the reasons rebounds in housing and the economy are likely to be drawn out.
“The bottoming process in the housing market is under way,” Michelle Meyer, an economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said before the report. “The stabilization has been driven in part by an increase in deeply discounted foreclosed properties.”
Economists forecast existing sales would rise to a 4.84 million rate from a previously reported 4.77 million for May, according to the median of 68 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 4.7 million to 5 million.
June traditionally is one of the top sales months of the year as families prepare to move before the start of the next school term, according to the NAR. The group adjusts the figures for these seasonal variations in order to facilitate month-to- month comparisons.
Sales were down 0.2 percent compared with a year earlier.
The number of houses on the market fell 0.7 percent to 3.82 million in June, NAR said. At the current sales pace, it would take 9.4 months to sell those homes, compared with 9.8 months in May. A 7 months supply is usually consistent with stabilization in prices, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, said in a press conference. It may take until the end of this year or early 2010 before property values steady, he said.
The median price of an existing home fell to $181,800 from $215,000 a year earlier, the NAR said.
Resales of U.S. single-family homes and condos rose 3.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, the highest level since last October, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Resales have risen for three straight months. The housing market appears to be healing, said Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist. The increase was higher than expected. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected sales to rise to 4.85 million. Inventories of unsold homes are still elevated and putting pressure on prices. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell to a 9.4 month supply at the June sales pace, down from 9.8 months in May. Yun said that inventories would have to be at a 7 month supply to get price stabilization. The median sales prices fell 15.4% in the past year to $181,800. Resale activity is concentrated in lower-priced home as a result of tax incentives, analysts said. Distressed properties accounted for 31% of sales in June.
Sales of previously owned homes in the United States increased at a faster-than-expected annual pace in June, an industry survey showed Thursday, in the third straight month of gains.
The National Association of Realtors said that sales rose 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.89 million units from a downwardly revised 4.72 million pace in May. June’s reading compared with forecasts for a 4.84 million unit annual pace.
It was the highest level of sales since October 2008.
The median sales price was $181,800 in June down 15.4 percent from $215,000 in the same month last year, but up from $174,700 in May.