Sales of existing homes reached their second-highest pace this year – despite slipping1.8 percent from the month before, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors. Before falling in August, sales of previously owned homes had risen in each of the previous four months. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said sales activity remains stronger than earlier in the year. “On the positive side, first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country,” Yun said. In fact, total housing inventory, though down in August, remains 4.5 percent higher than one year ago. And, though the share of first-time home buyers was unchanged in August, total homes sales actually increased in the Northeast and Midwest. However, decreasing sales in the South and West negated those gains. Also in the report, the median existing-home price for all housing types was $219,800, which is 4.8 percent higher than last August. More here.