US home sales fell 0.7 percent, 4th straight monthly decline


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of existing homes slipped for the fourth consecutive month, declining 0.7 percent in July to the slowest pace in more than two years as the real estate market shows signs of cooling.

The National Association of Realtors says homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.34 million. Home sales have fallen 1.5 percent during the past 12 months.

The U.S. housing market is hurt by a widening wealth gap, as inventories of lower-priced homes remain tight. Sales of single-family houses worth more than $500,000 have jumped in the past year. But homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 — a level the middle class can afford — have barely budged.

The median sales price in July increased 4.5 percent from a year ago to $269,600.

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