Existing-home sales jump more than expected

US existing-home sales rose more than forecast in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of existing condos, co-ops, and single-family homes increased by 1.1% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million.

The NAR’s report showed again that buyers faced limited choices. The inventory shortage helped raise the median price on an existing home to a record $US252,800.

“Although we have not seen a rapid acceleration in home prices, the steady gains of roughly 6% a year are outpacing average wage growth and creating affordability strains,” Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, said in a preview.

Meanwhile, demand outstripped supply, with the median number of days a home spent on the market falling to 27 days, the shortest period since the NAR started counting in May 2011.

“The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” he said. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved.

Economists had forecast that sales fell by 0.4% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in May, according to Bloomberg. Sales in April were revised lower.

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