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U.S. existing home sales down 2.2 percent in May

06-23-2010 13:57 BJT

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Existing home sales in the United States declined by 2.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million units, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Tuesday.

The sales in May, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased by 19. 2 percent from the 4.75-million-unit pace in May 2009.

April sales were revised to show an 8.0-percent monthly gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said he expects one more month of elevated home sales.

"We are witnessing the ongoing effects of the home buyer tax credit, which we'll also see in June real estate closings," Yun said in a statement.

"However, approximately 180,000 home buyers who signed a contract in good faith to receive the tax credit may not be able to finalize by the end of June due to delays in the mortgage process, particularly for short sales," he added.

The Obama administration had boosted home sales by offering buyers tax credits of up to 8,000 dollars.

As the leading advocate for homeownership issues, NAR is supporting Senate amendments to extend the home buyer tax credit closing deadline through Sept. 30 for contracts written by April 30, and to renew the flood insurance program.

"Sales and related local economic activity would have been higher without delays in the closing process or flood insurance issues," Yun noted.

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