Existing home sales were down in June, but housing seems to be coming back, ever-so-slowly.

The National Association of Realtors says June sales dropped more than 5 percent. But sales are up 4.5 percent from a year ago. But the annual sales pace is below the 6 million that economists consider healthy.

Spokesman Walter Malony says the housing recovery seems to be moving forward, aided somewhat by historically low mortgage rates. But there's a sticker here, too. Malony says tight credit is holding back the sales activity, despite the fact that we have histocically favorable affordability conditions.

Almost one in three existing home sales are ging to first-time buyers. But it is pointed out that in healthy housing times, four-in-ten sales go to first-timers.

The median home price rose 5 percent to $189,400. That's mostly because sales of more expensive homes rose, while sales of cheaper homes fell, the Realtors group said. Prices are also rising because there are fewer homes for sale.

The inventory of unsold homes fell to 2.39 million. It would take six and a half months to exhaust the supply at the current sales pace. That's just above the six months that economists consider healthy.

Other recent reports have indicated that the housing market is slowly recovering, even as the broader economy struggles. Builders broke ground last month on the most new homes and apartments in four years. And the number of new single-family homes, the bulk of the market, rose for the fourth straight month to the highest level since March 2010.