US home sales fell in June; would-be buy­ers can’t find homes

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Home­buy­ers faced surg­ing prices and a shrink­ing num­ber of prop­er­ties for sale in June - caus­ing the pace of sales to fall. Sales of ex­ist­ing homes slipped 1.8 per­cent last month to a sea­son­ally ad­justed annual rate of 5.52 mil­lion, the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors said yes­ter­day.

The de­cline speaks to a trou­bling cy­cle for a US hous­ing mar­ket ham­pered by a wors­en­ing short­age of prop­er­ties to buy. De­spite solid de­mand in a rel­a­tively healthy econ­omy for houses, sales list­ings have been steadily de­clin­ing for more than two years. The re­sult­ing short­age has caused prices to con­sis­tently rise faster than wage gains, mak­ing it harder for more Amer­i­cans to build up their net worth by be­com­ing home­own­ers. Sales lev­els have im­proved a mere 0.7 per­cent over the past 12 months. The mod­est gains come de­spite solid lev­els of hiring that have pushed the un­em­ploy­ment rate to a healthy 4.4 per­cent, a level that in the past would have helped to fuel fur­ther sales growth.

But many would-be home­buy­ers are un­able to find prop­er­ties to pur­chase. The num­ber of sales list­ings has been fall­ing on an annual ba­sis for the past 25 months. There were 1.96 mil­lion homes for sale in June, a 7.1 de­cline from a year ago. That short­age has caused prices to climb at more than dou­ble the pace of av­er­age hourly earn­ings. The me­dian sales price has climbed 6.5 per­cent over the past year to $263,800. Homes sold in June at a me­dian of just 28 days, down from 34 days last year. Sales de­clined last month in the North­east, South and West but in­creased in the Mid­west. — AP

This July 10, 2017 photo shows a home for sale, in North An­dover, Mass. The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors re­ported on sales of ex­ist­ing homes in June.

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