US existing home sales take a breather, but prices soar

A single family home is for sale in Encinitas, California on May 22, 2013. US home resales unexpectedly fell in June after two straight months of hefty increases, but a surge in prices to a five-year high suggested the housing market recovery remaine
A single family home is for sale in Encinitas, California on May 22, 2013. US home resales unexpectedly fell in June after two straight months of hefty increases, but a surge in prices to a five-year high suggested the housing market recovery remained on course. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US home resales unexpectedly fell in June after two straight months of hefty increases, but a surge in prices to a five-year high suggested the housing market recovery remained on course.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Monday that home sales fell 1.2 per cent to an annual rate of 5.08 million units.

Still, sales remained the second highest since November 2009.

May's sales pace was revised down to 5.14 million units from the previously reported 5.18 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise to a 5.25 million unit pace in June.

In the 12 months through June, sales were 15.2 per cent higher. The median price for a previously owned home soared 13.5 per cent from a year ago to US$214,200 (S$271,187), the highest since June 2008.

The NAR said a spike in mortgage rates, in anticipation of the Federal Reserve starting to reduce its massive monetary stimulus later this year, had probably dampened sales in June.