U.S. home sales unexpectedly rose in November, but recorded their biggest annual decline in 7½ years, adding to other data that have painted a grim picture of the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million units last month. October’s sales pace was unrevised at 5.22 million units. Sales have now increased for two straight month.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales falling 0.6 percent to a rate of 5.20 million units in November. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, tumbled 7.0 percent from a year ago in November, the largest annual drop since May 2011.
Sales are down 2.3 percent in the first 11 months of this year compared to the same period last year.
The housing market is being constrained by higher mortgage rates as well as land and labor shortages, which have led to tight inventory. Though house price inflation has slowed significantly, it continues to outpace wage growth, sidelining some first-time homebuyers. Read more