Home sales dip, but prices still above last year

The median price rose 7.9 percent from a year ago to $182,600.
BY MCT INFORMATION SERVICES Modified: June 27, 2012 at 1:17 am •  Published: June 30, 2012
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Sales of existing homes dipped 1.5 percent in May from April but were up substantially from a year ago, along with property prices, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Last month, resales slipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million from 4.62 million in April but were up 9.6 percent from May 2011, according to the report.

The median price rose 7.9 percent from a year ago to $182,600, marking the third year-over-year gain in a row — the first time that's happened since 2006. Analysts from Credit Suisse called the firming prices, now at the highest level since June 2010, “the silver lining” of the report.

Sales of single-family homes were 1 percent lower than April but 10.4 percent higher than last May. The price for such properties spiked 7.7 percent from 2011 to $182,900.

The report, which also factors in town homes, condominiums and co-ops, blamed the dip from April on tight supply rather than softening demand. The inventory of listed homes for sale was 20.4 percent smaller than a year ago, according to the Realtors association.

Mortgage rates were again at record lows; building permits were at more than a three-year high and single-family housing starts were increasing.

Heavily discounted foreclosures and short sales made up a substantial but shrinking portion of home buys — 25 percent in May from 31 percent a year earlier. First-time buyers, however, made up a third of the pool, a smaller portion than before.