Existing home sales dip 2.6 percent in June

A sparkling new home.

Existing home sales are down, thanks to the tax credit expiration and high unemployment numbers, to name just two factors. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/David/Flickr)

While new home sales showed an increase in June (but a marked decrease in July), the Association of Realtors has revealed the dirty underbelly of those statistics, reports Bloomberg. Contracts to buy previously owned homes were down that month, something that experts did not predict. The indication here is that as the home buyer tax credit expired, demand spiraled downward.

Economists predicted 4 percent growth in existing home sales

The median forecast by the National Association of Realtors had a much rosier outlook on June 2010. Existing home sales weren’t predicted to fall as far as they did immediately following the April 30 deadline for the government tax credit, when a massive 30 percent drop occurred. Bloomberg reports that 30 percent drop in May 2010 was the largest decrease in existing home sales since the association began the median forecast in 2001.

No more $8,000 credit means people need to earn more

Of course America remains in a recession, which means that unemployment is still high and wage gains remain stagnant. As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner predicts that unemployment will increase in August, existing home sales probably aren’t going to be trending upward for a while. Stocks are down in anticipation of the bad news, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 recently went down 0.6 percent.

Existing home sales are the bulk of the housing market

In fact, 90 percent of the U.S. housing market consists of existing home sales, so the recent downturn doesn’t bode well for a housing market recovery. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, told Bloomberg that “There could be a couple of additional months of slow home sales activity before picking up later in the year, provided the job market improves.”

The specter of home seizure

Then there are those pesky foreclosures. Even though 30-year fixed mortgages are down to 4.54 percent at July’s end, foreclosure was up 38 percent from the year previous, according to RealtyTrac, Inc. Donald Horton of home builder D.R. Horton Inc. remarked that market conditions have become quite challenging, and there’s no immediate end in sight.

Sources:

Bloomberg

Homeowners who are staying put

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