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IPFS News Link • Housing

Sales of U.S. Previously Owned Homes Decline to a Six-Month Low

• by Reade Pickert

Contract closings decreased 7.2% in February from the prior month to an annualized 6.02 million, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 6.1 million annualized rate in February. The monthly drop was the biggest in a year.

"Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge, as buyers are getting a double whammy: rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases," Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement Friday.

The slide in sales reflects a market still constrained by a lack of inventory, which in February was the second-lowest on record. Buyers are bidding up prices on the few homes available. Meantime, affordability is showing signs of worsening, especially among first-time buyers.