Existing home sales slip, prices stabilize


In this July 13, 2011 photo, realtor Sean Williams posts a sold sign on a home he sold in Lawrence, Kan. Sales in all regions were below last year’s numbers. (Orlin Wagner/AP)

A report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors showed the average price of an existing home edged up to $184,300 — an 0.8 increase from the previous year.

Home sales fell 0.8 percent from the previous to 4.77 million. That figure is still nearly 9 percent below last year’s number, which marked the closing deadline for the first-time home buyer’s tax credit.

An unusual number of contract cancellations was cited as the main reason for the decline. It isn’t clear why a higher number of potential buyers were backing out of their sales contracts, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said economic uncertainty and haggling over the federal budget could also be affecting the sales market.

Sales in all regions were below last year’s numbers. Numbers fell the most in the Northeast and the West, offsetting a slight uptick in sales in the Midwest and the South.

Single-home sales stayed steady, while condo sales fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 530,000, 7.4 percent less than the same period last year.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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