July 24 (UPI) -- U.S. home sales fell in June because low supply led to higher prices, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.
Sales fell 1.8 percent in June to 5.52 million, down from 5.62 in May.
A NAR report said sales of existing homes have climbed only 0.7 percent in the past 12 months, and listings of available homes for sale have declined for the past two years. The shortage has caused a rise in the price of homes.
"The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines," Lawrence Yun, a NAR economist, said. "The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year's pace despite these persistent market challenges."
The median price for all types of existing homes in June was $263,000, up 6 percent from a year earlier. Total housing inventory declined a half-percent in June to just under 2 million, down 7.1 percent from a year ago and a continuation of a 25-month decline.
First-time buyers made up 32 percent of June sales, the report said, down from 33 percent May and down from 33 percent in June 2016.
The report cited mortgage lender Freddie Mac, which said the lender's average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined for the third consecutive month. It fell to 3.9 percent in June, from 4.01 percent in May.