Contracts to buy US homes slip in June

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 28, 2014 at 9:52 am •  Published: July 28, 2014
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New home sales fell 8.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, the Commerce Department said last week.

The Realtors recently reported that sales of existing homes increased 2.6 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million homes. It marked the first time that sales have been above the 5 million-mark since October, yet the pace of buying remained below last year's level of 5.1 million.

Economists generally consider annual home sales of 5.5 million to be consistent with a healthy housing market.

Still, there are indications that sales could pick up.

Along with the arrival of spring, average mortgage rates have dropped to 4.13 percent, down from a 52-week high of 4.58 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

The rate of average price gains has slowed to 4.3 percent year-over-year, according to the Realtors. That's down from gains in the double digits. But wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation, eating into how much income people have to spend and save for down payments.