US existing-home sales drop for 3rd straight month

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Associated Press

Posted on December 19, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 8:07 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people who bought existing U.S. homes in November declined for the third straight month. Higher mortgage rates have made home-buying more expensive, while the lingering impact of the October government shutdown may have deterred some sales.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales fell 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.90 million. That's the weakest pace since December 2012, and the first time since April that the pace has slipped below 5 million.

Still, the association projects that total sales this year will be 5.1 million. That would be the strongest since 2007, when the housing bubble burst.

The median sales price of an existing home was $196,300 in November, a slight decrease from October but 9.4 percent higher than a year ago.

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