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May New Home Sales Hit Two-Year High

New home sales jumped to 369,000 in May - the highest level since April 2010 - as the median and average home prices both dropped, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Monday. Economists had expected sales to reach 350,000 from the prior month's 343,000.

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Lack of Distressed Properties Led to May’s Drop in Existing Home Sales

The drop in existing home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Thursday likely stemmed from a lack of distressed properties on the market, according to IHS Global Insight. In May, existing-home sales made a fall of 1.5 percent from the month before. The share of investor purchases also declined, which IHS economist Patrick Newport said is likely due to a drop in the number of distressed homes. According to the NAR report, investor purchases made up 17 percent of homes sales in May, down from 20 percent in April and 19 percent in May 2011.

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Existing Home Sales Fall Again, Prices Rise in May

Existing home sales dropped to 4.55 million in May while the median price of an existing home rose to $182,600, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Distressed homes accounted for 25 percent of May sales (15 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), down from 28 percent in April and 31 percent in May 2011, the NAR said. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 19 percent below market value in May, while short sales were discounted 14 percent.

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Initial Jobless Claims Dip But Remain High

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 387,000 for the week ended June 16, from the prior week's 389,000, (revised from the originally reported 387,000) the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected the report would show 386,000 initial claims.

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Radar Logic: Prices Show Monthly Gain, but Improvements Won’t Last

While other experts and analysts have concluded home prices are on the rise and the recovery is under way, Radar Logic released a report challenging the upbeat viewpoint. The analytics firm stated in a report that it believes the oversupply of homes relative to demand will prevent sustained home price gains for some time. The argument made is that as buyers absorb the supply of homes for sale in certain markets and prices start to stabilize as a result, home owners who have been waiting on the sidelines to sell will do so once price start to improve. This will increase supply once again, and home prices will stop appreciating as supply exceeds demand.

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