The National Association of Realtors this morning (May 25) reported that sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops fell 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million units in April from an upwardly revised level of 6.15 million in March. The April sales figures were 10.7 percent lower than the 6.71 million-unit pace in April 2006.

Prices were falling as well in April. The median existing-home price was $220,900, down 0.8% from April 2006's $222,600.

Perhaps the worst news in the NAR numbers was that total housing inventory rose 10.4% at the end of April to 4.20 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 8.4 month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.4 month supply in March.

Single-family home sales declined 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.22 million in April from an upwardly revised 5.35 million in March, 11.2% below the 5.88 million-unit level in April 2006. The median existing single-family home price was $220,500 in April, which is 0.9% below a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 770,000 units in April from a level of 800,000 in March, and are 7.7% lower than the 834,000-unit pace in March 2006. The median existing condo price was $223,700 in April, up 1.0% from a year earlier.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 0.7% in April to a level of 1.38 million, 11.5% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $166,600, up1.9% from April 2006.

Existing-home sales in the South slipped 1.2% to an annual sales rate of2.38 million in April, and are 8.8% below April 2006. The median price in the South was $181,100, down 0.3% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.7% in April to an annual pace of1.19 million, and are 15.6% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $338,200, 2.1% lower than April 2006.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 8.8% to a level of 1.04 million in April, and are 8.8% lower than April 2006. The median existing-home price in the Northeast was $283,600, which is 0.6% below a year ago.

"We've been anticipating slower home sales because many subprime loan products are no longer available," said Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist."Increased scrutiny by lenders is stopping risky mortgage origination, which is good for both consumers and the lending community."

There was more bad news on the mortgage front. According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.18 percent in April, up from 6.16 percent in March; the rate was 6.51 percent in April 2006. This week, Freddie Mac reported the fixed rate jumped to 6.37 percent.