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August U.S. home sales dip slightly

September 24, 2009 |  8:35 am

    The National Assn. of Realtors reports sales of existing homes nationwide fell slightly last month from July’s levels, but were still higher than the same month a year ago.

    It’s not unusual for home sales to dip slightly from July to August – that also happened for the last three years. August sales fell 2.7% from July, to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.1 million units. Last month’s sales were 3.4% above the 4.93-million-unit pace of August 2008. 

     The median price for U.S. resale homes in August was $177,700, practically even with July’s $178,400 median, but down 12.5% from August 2008, the Realtors group said.

     Home sales also showed signs of returning to a more normal mix of transactions – for the last year home sales in many areas were dominated by sales of foreclosures to investors and first-time buyers.

     First-time home buyers accounted for 30% of sales in August, the association said. In March, first-time buyers comprised 53% of purchasers, according to the association, and distressed sales made up a slight majority of purchases that month.

    Last month, distressed-property sales accounted for 31% of purchases, the Realtors group said, matching July’s levels.

    As usual, the Calculated Risk blog has several historical graphs and tables for those of you who want to really go deep into this.

--Peter Y. Hong