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Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Drop for First Time in Four Months

  • December contract signings impeded by record-low inventory
  • Existing-home sales of 6.12 million in 2021, best in 15 years
A real estate sign stands outside a home for sale in Peoria, Illinois, U.S.

A real estate sign stands outside a home for sale in Peoria, Illinois, U.S.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Updated on

Depressed housing inventory curbed U.S. sales of previously owned homes at the end of the strongest year since 2006, and a recent spike in mortgage rates risks a further tempering of purchases.

Contract closings decreased 4.6% in December from the prior month to an annualized 6.18 million, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Thursday. Still, sales climbed to 6.12 million last year, while home prices appreciated by the most since 1999.