09/23/2019

Home Sales Dropped in December; Price Increases Slowed

Home sales tumbled in December to their weakest level since 2015, ending a difficult year at a new low and offering fresh evidence that the housing market could be in for a bumpy ride in 2019.

Some of the same forces that pounded global financial markets in the fourth quarter caused home buyers to pull back at the end of the year. Home sales were weighed down by a surge in stock-market volatility, uncertainty as the government shutdown began and rising interest rates, which pushed up mortgage rates in November to their highest level in seven years.

Housing also suffered from high home prices and a dearth of starter homes in major markets, a nagging problem for much of last year that shows little sign of abating. A growing U.S. economy and low unemployment haven’t kept home sales from sputtering.

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