U.S. home sales unexpectedly fell for a second straight month in January, weighed down by a persistent shortage of houses that is pushing up prices and keeping first-time buyers out of the market.
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that existing home sales dropped 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million units last month. December’s sales pace was revised down to 5.56 million units from the previously reported 5.57 million units.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales rising 0.8 percent to a rate of 5.60 million units in January. Sales fell in all four regions last month. Existing home sales, which account for about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, declined 4.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in January.