Tuesday, November 23, 2004

U.S. Existing Home Sales Dip in October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of existing U.S. homes fell by a less-than-expected 0.1 percent in October as low mortgage rates offered support to buyers, a trade association report showed on Tuesday.

Sales of previously owned homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.75 million units last month from an upwardly revised 6.76 million unit pace in September, the National Association of Realtors said.

Analysts had been expecting a drop to a 6.70 million unit rate from an originally reported 6.75 million rate. Prices for U.S. government bonds were little changed after the report, but the dollar initially slipped a bit against the euro.

The report showed the housing market remained solid, said Gary Thayer, chief economist at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis. "The decline in mortgage rates we saw this summer continues to support housing activity," he said. "It generally looks like a good report."

The national median home price rose 8.8 percent from the same month a year earlier to $187,000, the NAR report showed.

Inventories grew, with the supply of homes available for sale at the current pace rising to 4.3 months' worth from 4.2 months in September.


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