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Thu Jun 21, 2012, 11:37 AM

Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Fall to 4.55 Million Rate in Uneven Recovery [View all]

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes declined in May, showing an uneven recovery in residential real estate.

Purchases of existing properties dropped 1.5 percent to a 4.55 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 4.57 million pace.

The weakest employment gain in a year last month and limited access to credit are restraining a housing industry that’s been supported by record-low borrowing costs and cheaper properties that are drawing investors. The figures underscore Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s comments yesterday that the economy is failing to get a boost from a typical real- estate recovery.

“There’s a gradual bleeding into the market of distressed properties,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York. “It’s a bumpy trajectory” for housing. “It’s going to be a gradual recovery.”



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