WASHINGTON-- Despite slowing economic conditions, existing single-family home sales rose in May, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales increased 2.9 percent in May.

In May, sales activity rose 3.5 percent from sales activity a year ago. According to Dr. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, some economic forecasters are expecting a slowdown in sales, although demand is currently high.

Housing inventory levels recently dropped 6.1 percent to a total of 1.53 million existing homes available for sale. The May inventory level was 2.7 percent higher than May 2000, when nearly 1.5 million homes were on the market.

In the South, the existing-home sales pace rose 3.8 percent in May. In the Midwest, existing homes sales rose 3.5 percent from April’s sales. Home resales in the West rose 2.3 percent in May to an annual rate of 1.36 million units.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged from April to May with a pace of 640,000 units.