WASHINGTON – Sales of existing U.S. homes plummeted in January to the worst pace in 18 months. Cold weather, limited supplies of homes on the market and higher buying costs held back purchases.
The National Association of Realtors says sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million units last month. That was down 5.1 percent from the December pace. The sales rate declined 5.1 percent over the previous 12 months. Higher mortgage rates and higher prices have contributed to a slowdown in home buying in five of the past six months.
The median home price has risen 10.7 percent to $188,900 since January 2013. The flagging sales suggest a deceleration from the momentum for much of 2013, when 5.09 million homes were sold, the most in seven years.