Existing home sales fell slightly more than expected to an annualized pace of 4.91 million units in August, a 2.2% decrease in the month, following July's upwardly revised sales figure of 5.02 million. Even with a bigger loss than expected, the range in the past 11 months has been relatively narrow, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Economists were expecting the July data to fall to 4.94 million.

Total housing inventories fell to a 10.4-month supply in August, down from the downwardly revised 10.9-month overhang recorded in July.

Since August 2007, the pace of existing home sales has declined by 10.7%.

Single-family unit sales - which account for four-fifths of all sales - fell 1.4% to a pace of 4.35 million, down from a rate of 4.41 million in the previous month.

The national median existing home price fell to $203,100 in August, down from the July figure of $210,300 and marking a 9.5% year-over-year decline.

Existing home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings. This differs from the U.S. Census Bureau's series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Sarah Sussman
©CEP News Ltd. 2008