Home sales decline for 4th month


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

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 said Wednesday that 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, led by a 16.2 percent surge in sales of houses valued at more than $1 million.

But homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 – a level the middle class can afford – have barely budged, while sales of homes for less than $100,000 have plunged 10.6 percent from a year ago. There is a shortage of these more affordable homes on the market because existing owners lack the funding to upgrade to a more expensive property

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