Home Sales Pace Falters
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Sales of existing homes dropped 6.1% to an annual 4.93M unit rate in November, a six-month low and a disappointing fall after two months of substantial gains. The figure released today by the National Association of Realtors indicates that improvement in the housing sector continues to be bumpy, even in the face of a strengthening job market and—at last—modest wage growth.
The tumble was larger than Wall Street's predicted 5.2M unit rate and prompted economists to temper their 4th quarter GDP growth forecast by about 0.1% of a point, to 2.6%, the New York Times reported. On the bright side, first time homebuyers made 31% of November's transactions, their biggest share since October 2012. That pivotal demographic has lagged recently, leading to successive mortgage rate cuts as policy makers look to lower the barriers to entry.