The annual adjusted rate of existing-home sales fell to the lowest level in May since June 2003, dropping 10.3 percent compared to May 2006, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

The median existing-home price fell 2.1 percent in May compared to the same month last year.

Existing-home sales, including sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million in May, down 0.3 percent compared to April. It was the third straight month of annual sales rate declines.

This sales rate is a projection of a single month’s sales total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $223,700 in May, compared with $228,500 in May 2006. The average price in May was $271,500, down 0.8 percent compared with $273,700 in May 2006.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.26 percent in May, up from 6.18 percent in April; the rate was 6.6 percent in May 2006.

Total housing inventory jumped 5 percent at the end of May to 4.43 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.9-month supply at the current sales pace. That compares to a supply of 6.4 months in May 2006.

The supply reached its highest level since 1992, but the statistics now include condos and condos were not included in the 1992 data. Condo and co-op sales accounted for about 13.2 percent of existing-home sales in May, according to the report, and the supply of for-sale condos and co-ops reached 9.7 months in May.

Single-family home sales were down 10.8 percent in May compared to the same month last year. The median existing single-family home price was $223,000 in May, down 2.4 percent compared to May 2006.

Existing condo and co-op sales dropped 6.7 percent compared to May 2006. The median existing condo price, at $228,200 in May, dropped 0.4 percent compared to May 2006, the Realtor group reported.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the West fell 16.3 percent in May and the median price, at $341,000, dropped 0.5 percent compared to May 2006, according to the report.

Existing-home sales in the South dropped 11.9 percent in May and the median price, at $184,000, dropped 3.8 percent compared to May 2006.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 6.6 percent in May and the median price, at $168,800, dropped 1.7 percent compared to May 2006.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 3.5 percent in May compared to May 2006, while the median existing-home price climbed to $282,700, up 0.5 percent compared to May 2006.

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