Existing-Home Sales Reported Stable In July

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Existing-home sales were essentially unchanged in July, with increases in the West and Northeast offset by a decline in the Midwest, a report from the National Association of Realtors says.

Total existing-home sales -- including single-family, townhome, condominium, and co-op -- slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units in July from an upwardly revised pace of 5.76 million in June, and are 9 percent below the 6.32 million-unit level in July 2006.

"Home sales probably would be rising in the absence of the mortgage liquidity issues of the past two months," says Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist. "Some buyers with contracts have been scrambling when loan commitments did not materialize at the last moment, while other potential buyers are simply waiting for the mortgage market to stabilize.

"The rise in sales and prices in the Northeast region on a fairly consistent basis in recent months is promising because this was the first region that underwent sales and price weakness after the boom. Now, it appears that it will be the first region to climb back, indicating that other regions could follow a similar path."

Commercial real estate index hits record high

A forward-looking index for the commercial real estate market recorded its ninth consecutive improvement in the second quarter, according to NAR.

The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity rose 0.5 percent to an index reading of 120.7, the highest on record, from a downwardly revised reading of 120.1 in the first quarter.

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