Sales of single-family existing homes fell 4% in July after a 1% increase in June, but condominium sales were unchanged month over month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Realtor group reported Thursday morning that sales of previously owned single-family homes fell to a 4.12 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in July from a 4.29 million rate in June. Overall, sales are up 21.5% from a year ago, but that is a distortion caused by the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit last year.

Wells Fargo Securities senior economist Mark Vitner said home sales and house prices will drift lower. Vitner noted that sales cancellations due to appraisals and rejections of mortgage applications were a drag on July sales. And the July numbers don't reflect the recent weakness in the economy and the turmoil in the stock market. "Credit standards have tightened," Vitner said.

The NAR report said July's median existing single-family home price was $174,800, down 4.5% year over year. There is an inventory of 3.05 million single-family previously owned homes on the market, an 8.9-month supply at the current sales pace.

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