Pend­ing home sales pick up in June

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

WASH­ING­TON — Amer­i­cans signed more con­tracts to buy homes in June, snap­ping a three-month de­cline in pend­ing sales.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors said Mon­day that its pend­ing home sales in­dex rose 1.5 percent in June to 110.2. The gain still puts the pace of con­tract sign­ings be­low its March level. The in­dex has in­creased just half a point from a year ago.

The U.S. hous­ing mar­ket is in­creas­ingly con­fronted with a short­age of prop­er­ties listed for sale. In the af­ter­math of the hous­ing bub­ble burst­ing a decade ago, there are mul­ti­ple rea­sons for the lack of homes avail­able to buy. In­vestors who bought fore­closed houses dur­ing the down­turn are now rent­ing them out, while many ex­ist­ing home­own­ers say that if they sell their house, they can­not af­ford the down pay­ment to buy a more ex­pen­sive prop­erty.

As a con­se­quence, prices are climb­ing faster than wages while the num­ber of homes listed for sale has plunged. All of this lim­its just how much sales vol­umes can ad­vance.

There were 1.96 mil­lion homes for sale in June, a 7.1 percent de­cline from a year ago.

The me­dian sales price has climbed 6.5 percent over the past year to $263,800, a rate more than dou­ble the in­crease in hourly av­er­age earn­ings.

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