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U.S. Home Sales Fell 6.6% Last Month as Supply Remained Tight

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Sales of previously owned homes slid in February, as the number of homes for sale held at an all-time low and home prices continued to climb.

Existing-home sales dropped 6.6% in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.22 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The February sales marked a 9.1% increase from a year earlier.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 2.8% monthly decline in sales of previously owned homes, which make up most of the housing market.

The housing market has boomed in the past year, as buyers took advantage of low interest rates and the pandemic prompted new demand for homes with space to work remotely. But concern about the virus and fierce competition for homes have made homeowners reluctant to sell, and the inventory of homes on the market has slid sharply.

“It is not that demand is disappearing from the marketplace. It is really the lack of supply” that explains the month-over-month decline in sales, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

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