Sales and prices of existing homes in August fell approximately 10 percent from a year ago, as total for-sale inventory declined by 128,000 units, according to data released today by the National Association of Realtors.

The seasonally adjusted sales rate, which includes single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, sank to 4.91 million units last month — a 2.2 percent drop from 5.02 million in July and 10.7 percent lower than the 5.5 million in August 2007.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $203,100 in August, down 9.5 percent from $224,400 a year ago.

While total housing inventory at the end of August (4.26 million units) was 2.9 percent lower than a year ago (4.38 million units), the supply of homes for sale actually rose during the period from 9.6 months to 10.4 months, indicating longer days on market.

By region, existing-home sales fell sharpest in the South (-15.1 percent) compared to a year ago, followed by the Northeast (-15 percent) and Midwest (-12.3 percent). Sales in the West gained 4.9 percent over their year-earlier numbers.

Prices declined greatest in the West (down 23.9 percent to $251,600) compared to a year ago, followed by the Midwest (down 5.6 percent to $168,000), Northeast (down 3.8 percent to $271,000), and South (down 3.4 percent to $176,500).

"The highest concentration of foreclosures is in the West, which is weighing down the median price because many buyers are taking advantage of deeply discounted prices," Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.


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