WASHINGTON — Sales of previously occupied homes fell in December for the first time in four months as mortgage rates ticked higher and would-be buyers struggled to find properties with the number of properties on the market at record-lows.
Existing home sales fell 4.6% last month from November, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly 6.2 million, the National Association of Realtors said today.
Even with the decline, December’s figures closed out a healthy year for home sales. Annual sales reached 6.1 million homes last year, the Realtors said, up 8.5% from 2020 and the most since 2006, the height of the housing bubble that crashed the following year.
Sales soared last year after pandemic lockdowns ended and many Americans sought more space for indoor offices and online schooling. Healthy home-buying was fueled by strong job and income gains.
With the Federal Reserve set to raise interest rates as soon as in March, home sales are expected to decline slightly this year, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.