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Existing Home Sales Fall 11.4 Percent; Inventory Numbers Stay at 15-Year High

The NAR’s existing homes report is out today, which shows sales volume off 11.4 percent from year-ago levels, registering an annualized 5.75 million units in June. The June numbers are off 3.6 percent from May’s downwardly revised sales numbers, the NAR said, and represent the slowest pace of existing home sales in roughly five years. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $230,100 in June, up 0.3 percent from June 2006 when the median was $229,300. The NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun pointed to dropping inventories as key:

“Two bright spots in the June report are a decline in housing inventory and a modest gain in home prices,” Yun said. “Although we’ve seen seasonal month-to-month price increases over the past four months, this is the first time in 11 months that the median home price is higher than the year-ago price.”

Not that the NAR was ever touting a 10-month drop in YOY prices, mind you — something I’ve gone gaga over in the past more than a few times. But, as with most of the spin that’s been coming out of the NAR, you really only want to listen to their forecasts on a sunny day. MarketWatch delivers a dose of reality regarding the inventory numbers that Yun would want us to see as a bright spot:

Sales of single-family homes plunged at a 30% annual rate in the second quarter, the steepest decline in 28 years … Sales of single-family homes were down 12% in June compared with a year earlier. Even with a significant 4.2% drop in the number of homes for sale, the supply remained at a 15-year high at 8.8 months’ worth of sales. “The numbers were not terribly surprising, but they were somewhat disturbing, ” said Mike Schenk, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association. “The slump in housing will be longer and deeper than advertised.”

Some bright spot. If that’s the good news — seeing supply stay elevated at almost historic highs — I’d really hate to see the bad news.

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