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Existing-home sales fall 0.8% to seven-month low

Existing-home sales fall 0.8% to seven-month low (by Steve Goldstein)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Sales of existing homes slipped in June to a seven-month low, with a trade group attributing the weak economy and a spike in cancellations for the surprise downturn. The National Association of Realtors on Wednesday reported sales of single-family existing homes fell 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million from 4.81 million in May. Economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated a 4.9 million rate of sales. The data caught economists by surprise in part because pending homes sales had gained 8.2% in May. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of the NAR, said "a very weak economy [led] to weak sales," and cancellations jumped to 16% from just 4% in May. The NAR also downgraded its 2011 sales projection to 5 million from a range of 5.1 million to 5.2 million. The median existing home price was $184,300, an increase of 0.8% from June 2010.