Sales of previously owned homes slipped 1.5 percent in December, according to newly released numbers from the National Association of Realtors. The decline is the 11th consecutive monthly decrease and puts sales 34 percent lower than where they were at the same time one year earlier. But while home sales have obviously suffered during a period of rising mortgage rates and high home prices, Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, expects things will pick up soon. “December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” Yun said. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.” In addition to lower rates, home price increases have also slowed, with the median existing-home price up just 2.3 percent year-over-year. That means improved affordability conditions for buyers as the spring home-buying season approaches, which could mean brighter days – and more sales – ahead.
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