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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Moderate Slightly in July
by Carol Stone August 23, 2005

Existing home sales eased slightly in July, falling 2.6% to 7.16 million units from an upwardly revised 7.35 million in June. Single-family sales alone decreased by 2.3% to 6.24 million and condo and co-op sales by 4.2% to 920,000. (The condo and co-op sales we calculated ourselves by simple subtraction.) Total sales were a bit weaker than consensus expectations, which had called for 7.25 million. Even so, the July outturn was the third highest ever, behind only June's figure, which was the record, and April's 7.18 million, according to these compilations by the National Association of Realtors. The data cover sales closed in this and previous months, in contrast to new home sales data, which count sales at the signing of a contract.

The median price of an existing single-family home increased 0.5% but June's price figure was revised downward, so the July result, at $217,900, is actually lower than the original June price median. Prices are not seasonally adjusted, and they tend to soften a bit as the summer winds down. Even so, the July number is still 14.1% ahead of a year ago, and the escalation should be plainly evident in our second graph.

By region, total sales fell everywhere except in the South, where they were flat with June. The West saw a decrease of 7% in the month to a volume just 0.7% above July 2004. Sales in the Midwest eased 1.4%, making them 1.9% below last July, and those in the Northeast were off 2.3%, but still held a gain of 4.9% from the year earlier amount.

The latest release from the National Association of Realtors is available here.

Existing Home Sales (000, AR) July June Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total Home Sales 7,160 7,350 1.3% 6,723 6,170 5,653
Single Family Home Sales 6,220 6,390 0.5% 5,913 5,441 4,995
Single Family Median Home Price ($,000) $217.9 $216.7 14.6% $182.8 $169.1 $157.6
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