WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes fell for the third consecutive month in November, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
Home sales dropped 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million in November, down from 5.12 million in October, the trade group said.
From a year earlier, sales fell 1.2 percent, breaking a 29-month streak in which sales were higher than the same month a year earlier.
NAR also said the median price of a home in October, at $196,300, was 9.4 percent higher than the median sales price in November 2012, marking the first time after 11th consecutive months in which the median prices did not rise in double digits from the same month a year earlier.
The trade group said, there is a 5.1 month supply of homes on the market with unsold inventory 5 percent above a year earlier, when the supply of listed homes represented a 4.8-month supply.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said higher interest rates were slowing down sales, but pent-up demand was keeping prices high.
"There is a pent-up demand for both rental and owner-occupied housing as household formation will inevitably burst out, but the bottleneck is in limited housing supply, due to the slow recovery in new home construction," Yun said.
"As such, rents are rising at the fastest pace in five years, while annual home prices are rising at the highest rate in eight years," he added.