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U.S. Existing-Home Sales Fall as Supply Drops to Record Low

An "Open House" sign is displayed outside of a home for sale in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.
Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg
Updated on

Sales of previously-owned U.S. homes fell in December for the first time in four months, as the market struggles with record-low supply and rising prices, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Wednesday.

The decline, deeper than economists estimated, indicates inventory issues across the U.S. are limiting Americans’ ability to purchase despite low mortgage rates and a solid job market. The low supply reflects a confluence of trends: New construction hasn’t kept up with housing needs; baby boomers are living longer and more often aging in place; and single-family homes that might have been purchased by first-time buyers are instead being rented out by investors who gobbled up foreclosures after last decade’s crash.