From the AP:
Reflecting further housing troubles, sales of existing homes fell in May to the lowest level in four years while the median home price dropped for a record 10th consecutive month.
The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums dropped by 0.3 percent to 5.99 million units in May, the slowest sales pace since June of 2003.
The median price of a home sold last month dropped to $223,700, down 2.1 percent from a year ago. It marked the 10th straight price decline compared with a year ago, the longest stretch of weakness on record.
In a troubling sign for the future, the inventory of unsold homes rose by 5 percent to 4.43 million units in May, a level that would take 8.9 months to clear out at the May sales pace. That is the highest inventory level since the last deep slump in housing in 1992.
The inventory of previously owned homes for sale in May rose to the highest level in relation to sales in 15 years, a real estate trade group said Monday. Sales of existing homes fell 0.3% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million from 6.01 million in April, the National Association of Realtors reported. Sales were stronger than the 5.90 million pace expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. nventories of homes on the market rose by 5% to a record 4.43 million, representing an 8.9-month supply at the May sales pace. That’s the biggest overhang of inventory since June 1992, at the tail end of the last housing bust. The median price of a home sold in May was $223,700, down 2.1% compared with May 2006.
Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. fell in May to the lowest in almost four years, reinforcing concerns about a protracted housing slump.
Purchases last month declined 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 5.99 million, the lowest since June 2003, from a revised 6.01 million in April, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The supply of unsold homes jumped to the highest in almost 15 years.
Weakening demand for existing homes, along with a decline in construction starts on new homes reported last week, make the housing market the biggest threat to economic growth, economists said. An increase in mortgage rates this month will further discourage buyers, leaving a glut of properties on the market.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet for existing home sales,” Ellen Zentner, an economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, said before the report. “Mortgage rates jumped and are heading higher. Lending standards have tightened not only for the subprime borrowers but also a little bit overall.”
Resales were forecast to fall 0.3 percent to a 5.97 million annual rate from a previously reported 5.99 million in April according to the median forecast of 61 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 5.75 million to 6.15 million.
Existing home sales averaged 6.51 million last year, lower than the 7.07 million average for 2005. Sales last month were down 10.3 percent compared with a year earlier.
The supply of homes for sale increased 5 percent to 4.43 million. At the current sales pace, that represented 8.9 months’ worth, the highest since June 1992 and up from 8.4 months’ worth at the end of the prior month.
The median price of an existing home fell 2.1 percent last month from a year ago to $223,700, the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year declines, the Realtors group said.
Resales of single-family homes fell 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 5.2 million. Sales of condos and co-ops rose 2.6 percent to a 790,000 rate.
Purchases fell 3.4 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the West. They rose 5.8 percent in the Northeast and 0.7 percent in the Midwest.
(This post will be updated as information becomes available)