Market CommentariesExisting Home Sales Rise Sequentially In JuneIt was another case of the glass being either half full or half empty, depending on how you look at it. Specifically, we refer to the latest metrics on sales of existing homes. To wit, the June data showed that such sales had increased to an annualized rate of just over five million residences. That was the first time that sales had topped that plateau since last October.

All told, existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single family homes, townhouses, condos, and co-ops, climbed 2.6% to 5.04 million homes annually last month. That was a bit higher than the upwardly revised 4.91 million homes sold in May (initially estimated at 4.89 million homes) and expectations of an even 5.00 million homes sold. The data were provided by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a large trade group.

However, June's total was below the 5.16 run rate realized in June of 2013. Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist, said that he was positive on the industry's fundamentals. On point, he noted that "inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country.'' Specifically, inventories are at their highest point since August of 2013, while median prices of existing homes rose 4.3% in the past year to $223,300. At the same time, the average price ticked up from $261,000 in June of 2013 to $269,100 last month.

Looking at some of the data points, we see that sales have climbed from 4.66 million homes annually in April to the latest total of 5.04 million units in June. Gains for single-family residences last month were 2.5%; sales of co-ops and condos, meanwhile, gained 3.4%.  

Moreover, on a regional basis, such sales rose by 3.2% in the Northeast, jumped 6.2% in the Midwest, edged up just 0.5% in the South, and gained 2.7% in the West.

Taken as a whole, this was a decent, albeit hardly electrifying, report. This survey follows the report last week on housing starts and building permits for June. That issuance was disappointing, with both categories falling last month. On Thursday, the Commerce Department will issue its latest report on new home sales. This sector is expected to have weakened somewhat last month.