June pending home sales fall to record low

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contracts for pending sales of previously owned homes fell to a record low in June as buyers sat on the sidelines, a survey from the National Association of Realtors showed on Tuesday.

The Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in June, fell to a record low 75.7 from a revised 77.7 in May. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a rise of 0.6 percent.

“We really need to see stronger job creation to have a meaningful recovery in the housing markets,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, adding “there could be a couple of additional months of slow home-sales activity before picking up later in the year” if the job market improves.

The June decline followed a 30 percent drop in May after a popular tax credit expired at the end of April.

The index was 18.6 percent lower than in June 2009 and fell in three of four regions compared to the prior month.

Contracts rose 3.7 percent in the South, the country’s largest region, but dropped by 0.2 percent in the West, by 12.2 percent in the Northeast and by 9.5 percent in the Midwest.

Reporting Corbett B. Daly; Editing by James Dalgleish