U.S. Home Sales Tumbled 3.6 Percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) -
mortgage rate
A home for sale in Walpole, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

U.S. home sales slid 3.6 percent in December, as rising prices and a declining number of available properties stifle purchases.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units. Despite the monthly setback, sales totaled 5.51 million in 2017. That was the highest level since 2006, yet it marked a slight 1.1 percent gain from 2016 as fewer homes are coming onto the market.

Just 1.48 million homes were listed for sale at the end of December, a 10.3 percent drop over the past year.

Home values are climbing faster than wages because of the shortage. The median home sales price increased 5.8 percent from a year ago to $246,800 in December.