It's still a buyer's market

For sale sign with sky in background

A huge number of unsold homes pushed prices a tad lower in July, forcing sellers to be more flexible and accept less lucrative offers than they might have liked.

The National Association of Realtors most recent report shows that:

The seasonally adjusted selling rate for all homes -- including single-family houses, town homes, condominiums and co-ops -- remained at 5.75 million in July. That was almost exactly what it had been in June even though mortgages cost more.

July also ended five straight months of falling sales, which had seen the sales rate decline from 6.69 million in February, to 6.12 million in March, to 5.99 million in April and 5.90 million homes in May.

The median sales price for all housing types fell to $228,900 in July. That's the latest indication that home values are slipping, but not crashing, in most parts of the country. The median price was $230,100 in June and $230,200 in July 2006 -- the highest monthly price on record.

There are now 4.59 million homes on the market. That's a significant inventory and means most homes are taking months to sell -- the key advantage for most buyers. There were 4.2 million homes for sale in June, and 4.43 million in May and April. It would take 9.6 months to sell that many homes at July's sales rate.