Existing home sales drop 3.8% – Jun. 21, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Sales of existing homes fell in May, as severe weather and high gas prices weighed on the shaky housing market.

Home sales fell 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million, down from a revised rate of 5 million in April, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Sales were more than 15% lower than in May 2010

Economists had expected a May sales rate of 4.79 million existing homes, according to consensus estimates from Briefing.com.

“Spiking gasoline prices along with widespread severe weather hurt house shopping in April, leading to soft figures for actual closings in May,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Gas prices surged earlier this year, pinching household budgets and putting a damper on consumer spending. In addition, sales were hurt by tornados and flooding in May that devastated parts of the South and Midwest.

Read more Existing home sales drop 3.8% – Jun. 21, 2011

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