National home sales hit lowest level since November

June 21, 2011 11:43AM

National home sales slipped 3.8 percent month-over-month to an annual rate of 4.81 million units, the lowest number since November, according to figures released today by the National Association of Realtors. That is also 15 percent below a 5.68 million pace set in May 2010. 

The association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said the market was constrained by temporary factors as well as reluctance on behalf of the restrictive lending community.  “Current housing market activity indicates a very slow pace of broader economic activity,” he said, “but recent reversals in oil prices are likely to mitigate the impact going forward. The pace of sales activity in the second half of the year is expected to be stronger than the first half.”

The national median existing home price for all housing types was $166,500 in May, down 4.6 percent from May last year. Total housing inventory fell 1 percent to 3.72 million existing homes. 

In the Northeast, home sales declined by 2.5 percent to 770,000 in May, 13 percent below May 2010’s figure. The median price in the region was $241,500, up 6.1 percent year-over-year. —Katherine Clarke