Instant view: Home sales down 4 percent in May

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 1:35 PM
Instant view: Home sales down 4 percent in May

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sales of existing home sales were down 3.8 percent in May and the median price for a home continued to fall, the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

KEY POINTS: * The National Association of Realtors said sales dropped 3.8 percent month over month to an annual rate of 4.81 million units, the lowest since November, after a downwardly revised 5.0 million unit pace in April.

COMMENTS:

TOM DONINO, CO-HEAD OF TRADING, FIRST NEW YORK SECURITIES, NEW YORK:

"It came out exactly in line and I think that not one person will pay attention to this. There's the obvious event that people are paying attention to, which is the Greek vote. So far it looks like people are expecting a positive outcome from that. If it doesn't go that way, it's anybody's guess how much downside there could be."

DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS:

"While suggesting that May existing home sales would prove the year's low, the NAR did express concern over pending action in Congress to require a 20% down payment for home purchases that could dampen any recovery. The regional breakdown for May's report showed no regions seeing increases, with the best being an unchanged outcome in the West, and the weakest being a 6.4% fall in the Midwest where bad weather was an additional problem. Distressed sales made up 31% of total sales in May, a decline from the levels seen in most recent months, and it may be that legal difficulties delaying foreclosures was a factor here.

"Price data reported monthly gains of 3.4% for the median and 2.0% for the average, but these gains are in part seasonal and April's gains were revised down in both series. Yr/yr rates of -4.6% for the median and -2.9% for the average are both the least negative since November, which suggests that the market may not be quite as weak as the headline home sales pace suggests. Still, this is clearly a weak report. If pending home sales rebound in line with NAR projections that may temper pessimism on the state of the housing market somewhat, but even that may do little more than imply a stable underlying picture rather than the negative picture seen in the latest data."

MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock indexes added to gains BONDS: U.S. bond prices eased, boosting yields slightly FOREX: The dollar was little changed