Sales of existing homes dropped 1.5% in May, according to data released this morning by the National Association of Realtors, falling to an annualized pace of 4.55 million units. Economists had expected sales at an annualized rate of 4.57 million units, Reuters noted.
The median sales price for existing homes rose 7.9% during the month, but only because the inventory of lower-price houses shrank, leaving more expensive homes on the market. In May, the median price for an existing home hit $182,600, the highest in almost two years.
The NAR noted that sales of homes priced at $250,000 and above rose 20% over the same time last year. Sales of homes priced under $100,000 fell.
Overall inventories of existing homes dipped to 2.49 million. It would take 6.6 months to exhaust the number of available existing homes at the current sales pace.
Distressed sales in May dropped to their lowest percentage of total sales — 25% — since 2008.