Kara Kay: Home sales in June up 21 percent

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Sales of existing homes jumped nearly 21% in June compared with May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

It was the largest monthly gain since the Realtors began tracking the data in 1968 and came after sharp declines over the previous three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the June gain pushed sales of new homes to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000, a better-than-expected performance. The increase follows a 19.4% jump in May.

The two months of sales gains followed two months of sharp declines in sales in March and April as much of the country went into lockdown.

A separate report Wednesday showed sales of previously owned homes surged 20.7% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million. Even with the gain, which followed three months of declines, new home sales remain toughly 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

The median price of a new home sold in June increased to $329,200, up 5.6% from a year ago.

Economists are hoping for a further rebound in sales in coming months but caution that this expectation depends heavily on the course of the coronavirus. A recent resurgence in cases has caused some states to rollback their reopening plans.

Sales are being helped by ultra-low mortgage rates which earlier this month dropped below 3% for a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Economists believe low rates and changes in home preferences brought on by the pandemic will combine to support further sales gains this year.

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