WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. sales of existing homes fell 0.6 percent in June, the third straight monthly decline as higher prices and a relative lack of inventory has sidelined many would-be buyers.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.38 million in May. Over the past year, home sales have tumbled 2.2 percent.
Many Americans searching for homes face prices that are climbing at roughly double the pace of wages. Sales of entry-level homes worth less than $250,000 have fallen amid a constrained inventory. Still, the number of homes for sale rose in June on annualized basis for the first time since the middle of 2015, a sign that the inventory shortage may be bottoming out.
The number of homes on the market increased a scant 0.5 percent to 1.95 million. But the slight improvement comes as prices have climbed beyond the reach of many Americans. The median sales price in June increased 5.2 percent from a year ago to $276,900.
But higher costs are more pronounced in the West, where the median sales price has jumped 10.2 percent over the past year to $417,400. Sales fell in the West and South last month, but they rose in the Midwest and Northeast.
Sales of homes worth less than $250,000 have declined nationwide over the past year, a sign that many in the middle class and possible first-time buyers are getting priced out of the market. By contrast, sales of homes worth more than $1 million have surged 7.6 percent this year.
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