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[WASHINGTON] US pending home sales fell in June after five straight months of gains but stayed near their highest level in more than nine years, an industry group said Wednesday.
The National Association of Realtors said that its pending homes sales index fell to 110.3 in June from 112.3 in May, dragged lower by declines in the Midwest and South that offset slight gains in the Northeast and West.
The dip in the forward-looking indicator was unexpected amid other data mostly showing the housing market gaining momentum, with existing-home sales surging in June to their highest level since 2007.
Year-over-year pending home sales rose for the 10th month in a row, by 8.2 per cent.
Overall, the trend supports a solid pace of home sales this summer, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
"Competition for existing houses on the market remained stiff last month, as low inventories in many markets reduced choices and pushed prices above some buyers' comfort level," Mr Yun said in a statement.
The NAR forecast that the national median existing-home price for all housing types would increase this year by about 6.5 per cent to $221,900, matching the record high set in 2006.
Total existing-home sales this year were expected to increase 6.6 per cent to about 5.27 million, it said, about 25 per cent below the prior peak of 7.08 million set in 2005.