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Home Sales Slowed in July

Existing-home sales lost momentum in July and decreased year-over- year for the first time since November 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions fell 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.39 million in July from 5.57 million in June. For only the second time in the last 21 months sales are now below a year ago.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales fell off track in July after steadily climbing the last four months. “Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country,” he said. “Realtors® are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $244,100, up 5.3 percent from July 2015 ($231,800). July’s price increase marks the 53 rd consecutive month of year- over-year gains.
The share of first-time buyers was 32 percent in July, up from 28 percent a year ago. First- time buyers represented 30 percent of sales in all of 2015.
According to Freddie Mac, the average interest rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 3.57 percent in June to 3.44 percent in July.

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