Housing market is faltering and strong economy offers no cure

By Laura Kusisto and Sharon Nunn | The Wall Street Journal

The housing market is stumbling through its longest slump in four years, as the divergence between a booming U.S. economy and weakening home sales that many had dismissed as temporary now looks poised to continue.

A combination of rising mortgage rates and high home prices, a dearth of inventory and a new tax law that reduces incentives for homeownership have weighed on the housing sector this year.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell 3.4% in September from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. Sales were down 4.1% from a year earlier, the seventh straight month of declines—marking the longest slump since 2014, when the market was still recovering from the housing crash.

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