“[T]he housing market will not turn around any time soon”

From the Home News Tribune:

Home sales plunge in July

Sales of existing homes fell in July for a fourth consecutive month, further evidence that housing troubles are far from over.

The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that sales of existing homes dropped by 3.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units. That is the slowest sales pace since November 2002 and the decline was about twice what had been expected.

The median price of an existing home edged up to $230,100, 0.3 percent more than a year ago. The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

It was the first price gain in 11 months. Analysts, however, said they were looking for prices to fall further because of the high level of unsold homes.

For June, the median price of a single-family home rose by 0.1 percent, and the price of a condominium increased by 2.6 percent when compared with a year ago.

“With inventories still way out of line, unless prices fall a lot more, the housing market will not turn around any time soon,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

The declines in existing home sales in June covered all parts of the country. Sales fell by 7.3 percent in the Northeast, 6.8 percent in the West, 2.8 percent in the Midwest and 1.7 percent in the South.

The supply of unsold homes did drop by 4.2 percent in June, to 4.2 million units. That level, however, still was seen as a drag on the market Some analysts said part of the decline occurred because disappointed owners pulled their homes off the market or decided to rent rather than sell.

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