U.S. home sales stumble

Prices hit record high

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in June as a dearth of properties amid strong demand pushed prices to a record high, keeping first-time buyers on the sidelines. The housing market has experienced an acute shortage of homes for sale for about two years. As the labor market churns out more jobs and builders struggle to secure land, building materials and skilled labor, the situation could worsen.

“The fact that demand is so high is actually a good sign of economic health,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “But that’s probably small comfort to buyers, especially first-time buyers that are having an especially difficult time finding entry-level homes for sale.”The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units last month.

Economists had forecast sales falling 1.0 percent to a 5.58 million-unit rate. Sales were up 0.7 percent from June 2016. The shortage of properties has led to bidding wars, culminating in house price increases outpacing wage gains.

http://www.reuters.com…   Tue.,  25  July 2017