Most surprising is the spike in buyers who signed contracts for properties but then pulled out. In June, 16% of NAR member realtors reported having a would-be buyer cancel their contract, up from 4% in May. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the realtors reporting cancellations, which is higher than the 10% seen in a typical month, is due, at least in part, to shaky consumer confidence.

Existing-home sales in June fell to a seven-month low, and the number of contract cancellations soared, signaling that buyers are rethinking home purchases amid national economic uncertainty.Sales decreased 0.8% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. It was the third-straight monthly drop and puts this year’s pace behind last year’s 4.91 million homes sold, which had marked the weakest sales in 13 years.The median sales price was $184,300, up 0.8% from $182,900 a year earlier."The housing market has been two steps forward, then two steps back," said Chris Mayer, an economics professor at Columbia University. "This is a sign of the lack of progress in developing a mortgage market that can take us past the housing crisis."…The overall decline in home sales "suggests that the recent deterioration in economic conditions has already hit the housing market," according to Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at the Toronto-based Capital Economics.
By Wesley Lowry, June 21, 2011 WSJ

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