Existing Home Sales Dip In August

Sales of existing homes -- including single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops -- dipped half a percentage point to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million in August, according to data released September 25 by the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR). Although August's rate was 12.6% lower than the 7.21 million rate of August 2005, it was not the July-to-August 2006 plunge that some economists had expected.

"The fairly even sales numbers in August tell us the market is at a more sustainable pace," said David Lereah, NAR's chief economist. "It keeps us on track to see the third highest sales year on record."

In percentage terms, year-to-year home prices declined in August at a rate three times that of sales. The national median existing home price was $225,000, down 1.7% from $229,000 in August 2005. "This is the price correction we've been expecting. With sales stabilizing, we should go back to positive price growth early next year," said Lereah.

At the end of August, 3.92 million existing homes were available for sale, a 7.5 month supply, the highest since April 1993.

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