Existing home sales drop again

By Diana Olick | CNBC

Sales of previously owned homes dropped 1.5% in December from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales ended the year at a seasonally adjusted, annualized pace of 4.02 million units, which was 34% lower than December 2021. It is the slowest pace since November 2010, when the nation was struggling through a housing crisis brought on by faulty subprime mortgages.

Total sales for the year were down 17.8% from 2021.

Home sales have now fallen for 11 straight months, due to much higher mortgage rates, which began rising last spring and had more than doubled by fall. Sky-high prices, driven by high demand during the first years of the pandemic, weakened affordability even further and caused supply to fall sharply.

“December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

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