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Home sales end 4-month rise in August

Inventory shrinks while sales fall 2.7% from July to August

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Sales of previously owned homes fell 2.7 percent from July to August, ending a run of four consecutive months of increases, while the inventory of homes for sale continued to shrink, the National Association of Realtors said today.Resale homes, including single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, changed hands at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million units in August, off the pace of 5.24 million in July but up 3.4 percent from a year ago.At that pace, the 3.62 million homes on the market at the end of August represented 8.5 months of supply, down from 9.3 months in July. Many experts consider a six-month supply of homes for sale good balance between supply and demand. The inventory of homes for sale was down 10.8 percent from July and 16.4 percent from a year ago.Some of the decline in closed sales appears to be the result of a rising number of contracts entering the system as the Nov. 30 deadline for claiming the first-time homebuyer tax credit approaches, said Lawr...