Summary: The National Association of Realtors [NAR] said Tuesday that existing home sales went up 0.5% last month. It was the first increase after seven consecutive monthly declines. But the median home price dropped to $221,000 (3.5%), the biggest year-over-year price decline on record. It was also the third straight month that median prices have fallen compared with the same period a year ago, the longest decline stretch on record. NAR's Chief economist David Lereah said he expected prices to continue falling to year-end as sellers, accustomed to the boom of previous years, reluctantly cut prices. Sales were down 2.9% in the Northeast and 1.2% percent in the South, rose 6.4% in the West, and were unchanged in the Midwest. Unsold homes inventory rose 1.9% to 3.85 million units, the second highest total on record, meaning it would take 7.4 months to exhaust the backlog of unsold homes at the current sales pace.
Related links: NAR Press release. Media coverage: WSJ. Commentary: Existing Home Sales: Unspinning The NAR Numbers • Options Trader: Tuesday Wrapup
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL), Lennar Corp. (LEN) • ETFs: streetTRACKS SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB)
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