Total existing-home sales were down 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million in June 2012 from an upwardly revised 4.62 million in May 2012, but were 4.5% higher than the 4.18 million-unit level in June 2011, according to National Association of Realtors.
NAR said existing-home prices showed gains but sales fell in June due to tight supplies of affordable homes, which limited first-time buyers.
Existing-home sales are completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops.
"Despite the frictions related to obtaining mortgages, buyer interest remains solid," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "But inventory continues to shrink and that is limiting buying opportunities. This, in turn, is pushing up home prices in many markets. The price improvement also results from fewer distressed homes in the sales mix."
Freddie Mac said the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.68% in June from 3.80% in May. The rate was 4.51% in June 2011; recordkeeping began in 1971.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400 in June, up 7.9% from a year ago. This marks four back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier - the last time this happened was in February to May of 2006. June's gain was the strongest since February 2006 when the median price rose 8.7% from a year prior.
"Buyer traffic has virtually doubled from last fall, while seller traffic has risen only modestly," said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami. "The very favorable market conditions are helping to unleash a pent-up demand, which is why housing supplies have tightened and are supporting growth in home prices. Nonetheless, incorrectly priced homes will not attract buyers."
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