US sales of existing homes bounced in July, recovering from weakness in the prior month, boosted by lower mortgage rates, according to data released Wednesday.
Prices remained high, but receded somewhat from June’s record.
Sales slid in the Northeast, but grew in the other three regions, especially the western United States, according to the National Association of Realtors,
Sales of all types of homes rose 2.5 percent from June to an annual rate of 5.42 million in July, slightly above analyst expectations, NAR said in its monthly report.
The result put the sales pace 0.6 percent above July of last year.
However, NAR reiterated its concern about the limited supply of affordable housing.
“Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
However, he said, “The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.”
The report cited data from mortgage lender Freddie Mac showing the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.77 percent in July, down from 3.80 percent in June and 4.54 percent throughout 2018.
The median home prices rose to $280,800, up 4.3 percent from the year-ago period, but a bit below the $285,700 all-time record set last month.
NAR said price appreciation was greatest among the lower-priced tier of homes in metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Denver, Miami and Tampa.
Total housing inventory decreased at the end of July to 1,89 million, down from 1.92 million in July.
Homebuilders have complained that the short supply of workers is hindering construction.
Analysts at RDQ Economics said the housing market should strengthen in the second half of 2019 in light of lower mortgage rates amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates further.
“The decline in mortgage rates appears to have arrested the decline in existing home sales and now appears to be fueling a moderate recovery in housing activity,” RDQ said in a note.
“Price gains continue to run well-ahead of inflation and the supply of homes for sale remains tight.”
UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report
Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.
The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.
A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.
But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.
‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys
In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.
"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.
The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.
"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."
Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors
A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.
The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.
"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.
The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.