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Home Sales Up in May
Existing Home Sales Post Modest Gain - New Home Sales Perform Better


Though the number of homes listed for sale rose 2.1 percent in May, inventory is still 8.4 percent below last May's levels and has dropped on a year-to-year basis every month for the past two years.

In spite of low inventories, existing home sales managed to rise 1.1 percent in May compared to April and new home sales increased 2.9 percent coming on the heels of a revised 7.9 percent drop in the previous month.

Existing sales too were down in April - 2.5 percent - so the modest increase in May was a welcome sight. According to Mark Vitner, senior economist for the Wells Fargo Economics Group, "sales in both months were restrained by lean inventories, which are likely deterring some potential buyers." And once again he reminds that the milder than usual weather earlier in the year is still tilting recent months' totals downward.

But year-to-date sales of existing homes are up 2.7 percent and new home sales are 12.2 percent stronger. And revisions to the previous three months' data added 34,000 new units - an increase that made March's total the highest since October 2007.

"Sales are clearly trending higher, particularly in the South, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the nation's home sales each year," states Vitner. "Sales in the South are being driven higher by resurgent economic growth in Texas and continued strong gains in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and the eastern half of Tennessee."

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April 22, 2019, 4:01 am PDT

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