U.S. Existing Home Sales Slip In July, Stay Strong

By Agence France-Presse U.S. existing home sales tumbled 2.9% in July but cheap mortgages kept the market running at the third-fastest pace on record, an industry survey showed Aug. 24. Existing home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.72 million homes in July from a record 6.92 million in June, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said. It was the third highest rate of sales on record, albeit a little lower than expected by analysts. Cheap mortgages are still driving demand, analysts said. NAR President Walt McDonald said low mortgage interest rates were only part of the picture. "The fundamental demand from entry-level buyers, dominated by the second-largest generation in U.S. history -- the children of the baby boom -- will drive home sales over the next 10 years because this generation is entering the prime years in which people typically buy their first home," he said. Housing inventory levels at the end of July were unchanged from June at 2.40 million existing homes available for sale, enough to last 4.3 months at the current sales pace, the NAR said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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