The pace of second-quarter existing-home sales slowed 7 percent compared to second-quarter 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported today, while 20 states had an increase in sales activity.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing-home sales was 6.69 million in the second quarter, down from a record 7.19 million rate in second-quarter 2005. This seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a quarterly sales total over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

In Alaska, second-quarter existing-home sales rose 48.6 compared to second-quarter 2005. In Arkansas, the resale pace rose 17.9 percent from a year earlier, while Texas had the third-strongest gain, at 11.3 percent. Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C., experienced declines, according to the announcement, and complete data for two states was not available.

Regionally, the South reported an existing-home sales pace of 2.6 million units in the second quarter, down 4.2 percent from a year ago. After Arkansas and Texas, the next-strongest increase in the South was in North Carolina, up 11 percent from second-quarter 2005, while re-sales in South Carolina rose 9 percent; six other Southern states also posted sales gains.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 4.7 percent to a 1.54 million-unit annual sales level from second-quarter 2005. The strongest increase in the region was in Indiana, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, followed by Iowa, up 3.8 percent, and Missouri, with an increase of 0.8 percent.

The Northeast saw an existing-home sales pace of 1.15 million units in the second quarter, which was 5.2 percent below a year earlier. Sales activity in Vermont rose 9.1 percent from the second quarter of 2005, while Maine increased 1.5 percent.

In the West, the existing-home sales rate of 1.41 million units was 14.7 percent lower than in second-quarter 2005. New Mexico second-quarter existing-home sales rose 6.2 percent compared to second-quarter 2005; Wyoming sales increased 5.7 percent and Montana sales rose 5.2 percent.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement, “When you look at states with high housing costs or that have experienced a prolonged period of rapid price gains, you typically see slower home sales. By contrast, states with moderately priced areas that have experienced healthy job creation are seeing sales gains — the economic backdrop remains favorable for the housing market, which is helping home sales to level out.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was 6.6 percent in the second quarter, up from 6.24 percent in the first quarter; it was 5.72 percent in second-quarter 2005. Last week, Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was down to 6.55 percent.

Total home sales tracked by the Realtors trade group include single family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing. NAR began tracking state sales data in 1981.

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