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Home sales down nationwide

Home sales are down nationwide, but the sales decline was minimal and prices rose in the Northeast.

Home sales are down nationwide, but the sales decline was minimal and prices rose in the Northeast.

May house sales were down from April and significantly lower than a year ago, according to numbers released today by the National Association of Realtors.

The data shows fewer people moving into new homes in all regions across the country. The sale of existing homes fell from 5 million in April to 4.81 million in May, 15.3 percent below the figure for May 2010.

High and rising gas prices coupled with devastating storms in the South and Midwest depressed May's closings, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

While the NAR report contains some bleak numbers, there was some good news coming out of the Northeast. A June 7 CoreLogic report said that the region is plagued by the highest average negative equity on upside-down mortgages in the country, with underwater borrowers in the hole an average of $129,000 in New York, $120,000 in Massachusetts and $111,000 in Connecticut. But home sales in the region decreased by a modest 2.5 percent, and it was the only region in which median sale price of homes went up from a year ago.