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Real estate sales stumble again in May

NAR: Median existing-home price falls 4.6% year-over-year

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After slipping in April, existing-home sales fell again in May compared to the month before, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Realtors. Completed sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops declined 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million in May from a downwardly revised 5 million in April, the report said. Sales fell 15.3 percent compared to May 2010 when the deadline for a federal homebuyer tax credit program helped fuel sales. The national median price for existing homes fell 4.6 percent year-over-year last month, to $166,500. Distressed properties, typically sold at a discount, made up 31 percent of sales in May, down from 37 percent in April and flat from May 2010, the report said. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, attributed the sales decline to high gas prices, widespread severe weather, and "overly restrictive loan underwriting standards," which he said are "clearl...