Sales of existing homes in May fell 15.9% from the same month last year to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.99 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Even though about a third of the sales last month were short sales that reflected foreclosures or distressed properties, there were some signs of shallowing distress. The difference between last year's sales rate and this year's has dropped for four consecutive months, from 23% in February to just under 16% last month.And the existing sales to date have also closed ground, from running 30.3% behind in February to just 19.1% in May, with 1.882 million units sold.
However, the slump still has a ways to go before bottoming out, and warmer weather did not bring any upswing; the May sales rate lags about 1% behind February's pace.
May's existing home median sales price was $208,600, down 6.3% from the same month in 2007. At the present sales pace, there is a 10.2-month unsold inventory.