Home resales retreat from 2-year peak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Home resales retreated in September from a two-year high, a reminder that America’s housing sector is a long way from a full recovery despite recent signs of improvement.

Existing home sales fell 1.7 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million units, matching the median forecast in a Reuters poll, data from the National Association of Realtors showed on Friday.

Housing has been a relative bright spot in the nation’s economy this year, and Friday’s data did not point to a reversal in that trend. The reading for August was revised slightly higher to show resales at a rate of 4.83 million units.

The median price for a home resale rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier, to $183,900. The rise in prices appears to be a result of tight inventories and a downward trend in sales made under distressed conditions like foreclosures.

To support the economy, the Federal Reserve began a program last month to buy housing-related debt, an action that has driven mortgage rates to record lows. Fed policy makers meet next week, but are unlikely to take new steps.


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