The sales rate for of U.S. resale homes dropped 13.2 percent in July compared to the same month last year, and the national median price dropped 7.1 percent, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

In California, meanwhile, sales of single-family resale homes soared 43.4 percent year-over-year in July while the median price sank a record 40.3 percent, the California Association of Realtors trade group reported in a separate announcement.

NAR reported that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. single-family home sales, including townhomes, condos and co-ops, reached 5 million in July, which is up 3.1 percent compared to June but down from the rate of 5.76 million units in July 2007.

For-sale housing inventory reached a level of 11.2 months in July. A for-sale inventory of six months is generally considered to represent a market equilibrium, with higher inventory levels representing a buyer’s market and lower inventory levels representing a seller’s market.

Single-family sales were down 12.4 percent year-over-year in July, while condo and co-op sales fell 18.6 percent, the median single-family price fell 7.7 percent and the median condo price dropped 2.7 percent.

Regionally, the rate of all resale home sales rose 0.9 percent in the West year-over-year in July while the median price dropped 22.2 percent. Sales in the Northeast were down 11.8 percent while the price was down 4.9 percent. The sales rate dropped 17 percent and the median price fell 1 percent in the Midwest, and the sales rate slipped 18.1 percent while the median price dropped 3.5 percent in the South, NAR reported.

In California, CAR President William E. Brown said in a statement that sales of distressed homes and a rise in the conforming loan limit helped to spur sales there.

"Deeply discounted, distressed sales continue to drive volume in many regions of the state," Brown stated.

Closed escrow sales of single-family resale detached homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 489,080 in July, the association reported, up from a pace of 341,130 sales in July 2007.

Meanwhile, the median single-family detached home price plunged from $587,560 in July 2007 to $350,760 in July 2008, a record that tops the previous year-over-year drop of 37.9 percent set in June 2008.

An index that measures the number of months needed to deplete the supply of for-sale homes given a monthly sales rate stood at 6.7 months in July, down from 10 months in July 2007.

The association reported a 15.9 percent rise in the sales rate for condos in July compared to the same month last year, and a 24.9 percent drop in the median condo price.

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