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Existing-Home Sales Rise 6.5% in July, Double Digits Remain on Median Home Prices

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Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 15 percent of July sales, the same as in June and matching the lowest share since monthly tracking began in October 2008; they were 24 percent in July 2012. Continuing declines in the share of distressed sales account for some of the price gain.

Nine percent of July sales were foreclosures, and 6 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in July, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.

The median time on market for all homes was 42 days in July, up from 37 days in June, but is 39 percent faster than the 69 days on market in July 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 72 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 50 days and non-distressed homes took 40 days. Forty-five percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

Data from realtor.com, NAR’s listing site, shows the tightest inventory conditions, reported as median age of inventory, are in Oakland, Calif., 20 days; Denver, 31 days; and the Seattle area, 36 days. First-time buyers accounted for 29 percent of purchases in July, unchanged from June, but are down from 34 percent in July 2012. All-cash sales comprised 31 percent of transactions in July, the same as in June; they were 27 percent in July 2012. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in July, down from 17 percent in June; they reached a cyclical peak of 22 percent in February of this year.

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