US home sales fell in October for ninth straight month

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in October for the ninth month in a row, the slowest pre-pandemic sales pace in more than 10 years, as homebuyers grappled with sharply higher mortgage rates, rising home prices and fewer properties on the market.

Existing home sales fell 5.9% last month from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

Sales fell 28.4% from October last year, and are now at the slowest annual pace since December 2011, excluding the steep slowdown in sales that occurred in May 2020 near the start of the pandemic.

The national median home price rose 6.6% in October from a year earlier, to $379,100.

House hunters had fewer properties to choose from as the inventory of homes on the market declined for the third month in a row. Some 1.22 million homes were on the market by the end of October, which amounts to 3.3 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace, NAR said.

The housing market has been slowing as average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have more than doubled from a year ago, making homes less affordable.