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U.S. home sales flat, prices down 15%

July 23, 2009 |  8:17 am

Existing-home sales were down 0.2% in June -- basically flat -- compared with the same month a year ago, the National Assn. of Realtors reports today. The seasonally adjusted annual rate was up 3.6% over May.

The June median sales price of $181,800 was down 15% from June 2008.

Home sales in the West were stronger than the nation as a whole. Sales were up 12% in the region compared with a year earlier. The median price was down 25% from a year earlier to $214,800.

The association suggests home purchases are being hampered by faulty appraisals. It says 37% of its members reported losing at least one sale and 85% of its appraisers claimed a reduction in appraisal quality because of new appraisal rules, which were meant to curb abuses that played a role in pumping up the housing bubble. Either the new rules are an overreaction, or the group's response to them is, it seems.

-- Peter Y. Hong