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Gold Unchanged After U.S. Existing Home Sales Disappoint

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(Kitco News) - Gold prices were relatively unchanged after data revealed that U.S. consumers bought less pre-existing homes in June, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Monday, the association said that existing home sales dropped 1.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 5.52 million units, compared to May's annualized rate of 5.62 million homes. Economists were expecting to see a 1% decline to 5.58 million units.

Gold didn't have much of a reaction to the release, with August Comex gold futures last trading at $1,256.40 an ounce, up 0.12% on the day - the level they were at prior to the publication.

Existing-home sales were down largely due to low supply, NAR said in the report.

“Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that's straining their budget,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

The median price for all existing-home types in June reached an all-time high of $263,800, up 6.5% from last year, which marked the 64th straight month of year-over-year gains. At the same time, the association said that total inventory as of the end of June declined 0.5% to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale.

"It's shaping up to be another year of below average sales to first-time buyers despite a healthy economy that continues to create jobs," said Yun. "Worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers' dreams of owning a home this year."

Prior to the release, Sal Guatieri, senior economist at Capital Markets said in a note that June’s pullback won’t be enough to reverse May’s gains, “keeping a gradual trend to decade highs intact.”

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