Market Overview

U.S. May House Prices Up 0.4%; Existing Home Sales Up 2.6%

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U.S. house prices rose 0.4 percent in May from the previous month and up 5.5 percent from a year earlier, a federal agency said Tuesday.

Separately, purchases of existing homes grew 2.6 percent, the largest monthly gain since August 2011, according to the trade group National Association of Realtors.

Sales grew to 5.04 million units in June from 4.91 million in May. The pace is 2.3 percent below a year ago.

Realtor economist Lawrence Yun said stagnant wage growth is holding back the pace of sales. But Yun added that higher inventories and slowing price gains "bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months."

Average prices in the U.S. are now 6.5 percent below an April 2007 peak and roughly the same as the July 2005 level, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Prices trends between April and May varied by region, falling as much 0.7 percent in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Prices gained 1.1 percent in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.

The 12-month price changes were all positive ranging from 2.5 percent in the Middle Atlantic region to 9.6 percent in the Pacific division.

The housing-related exchange-traded fund SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSE: XHB) traded recently up 1.6 percent at $31.50.

IShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (NYSE: ITB) traded at $23.98, up 1.7 percent.

Posted-In: News Econ #s


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