Existing-home sales fall about 5% in 2010

NAR: U.S. median price remains flat at $172,500

The sales rate for previously owned homes rose 12.3 percent in December compared to the previous month, but slid 2.9 percent compared to December 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

There were an estimated 4.91 million sales of existing homes — including single-family homes, condos and co-ops — in 2010, the trade group reported, down about 4.8 percent from 5.16 million sales in 2009 — after rising 4.9 percent in 2009. The monthly data for December is considered preliminary and is subject to revision.

The estimated median price was flat in 2010 compared to 2009, at $172,500, NAR reported.