Existing home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of July, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday.
NAR said existing home sales dropped by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.34 million in July after falling by 0.6 percent to a rate of 5.38 million in June.
The continued decrease in existing home sales came as a surprise to economists, who had expected existing home sales to climb by 0.6 percent.
“Led by a notable decrease in closings in the Northeast, existing home sales trailed off again last month, sliding to their slowest pace since February 2016 at 5.21 million,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
He added, “Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market.”
NAR said the median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $269,600, up 4.5 percent from the same month a year ago
Total housing inventory at the end of July decreased 0.5 percent to 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, representing 4.3 months of supply at the current sales pace.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of July. New home sales are expected to increase by 2.2 percent.