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Existing Home Sales Up 4.2 Percent In May, Prices Higher Too

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Sales of existing U.S. homes increased April-to-May and the national median price rose sharply for the sixth consecutive month, a trade group said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors, which tracks sales of existing homes, said sales rose 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million homes in May — the highest annual rate of sales since November 2009, when the rate stood at 5.44 million.

Sales were 12.9 percent higher than in May 2012, when the annual rate was 4.59 million.

Some markets have experienced low inventories of homes for sale in recent months, allowing prices to rise. In May, the national median prices for existing homes of all types was $208,000, a 15.4 percent increase from May 2012 and the sixth consecutive month the increase has been in double digits.

May’s gain is the largest annual jump since October 2005, the NAR said.

It was the 15th consecutive months of increases, which has not happened since March 2005 to May 2006.

“The housing numbers are overwhelmingly positive. However, the number of available homes is unlikely to grow, despite a nice gain in May, unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50 percent,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The total inventory of existing homes on the market rose 3.3 percent from April to May to 2.22 million.

At the current rate of sales, the inventory represents a 5.1-month supply of homes. In April, there was a 5.2 month supply of homes on the market.

Existing home sales rose 1.6 percent in the Northeast and jumped 8 percent in the Midwest. Sales in the South rose 4 percent, while in the West sales rose 2.5 percent, NAR said.

Leading indicator inches higherThursday, June 20, 2013 10:54 AMNEW YORK, June 20 (UPI) –  The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose marginally April to May, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The Leading Economic Index rose 0.1 percent from April after gaining 0.8 percent in the previous month.

While the gain was marginal, the increase indicated a persistent economic recovery, Conference Board Economist Ataman Ozyildirim said.

“Despite month-to-month volatility, the LEI’s six-month growth rate remains steady, suggesting that conditions in the economy remain resilient,” he said.

“Widespread gains in the leading indicators over the last six months suggest there is some upside potential for economic activity in the second half of the year,” he added.

The leading index compares current business activity with 2004, the year the Conference Board assigned a level of 100. In May, the Leading Economic Index rose to 95.2.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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