US home sales rose 1.9% last month, lifted by lower rates

November 21, 2019 - 10:14 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans purchased more homes in October, though sales were held back by a shortage of available properties.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of existing homes rose 1.9% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. That’s 4.6% higher than a year ago, suggesting that lower mortgage rates are propping up the housing market.

The broader housing market, including home construction, has picked up this year and fueled economic growth in the July-September quarter for the first time in nearly two years. Still, sales have been constrained by a decline in the number of houses for sale.

That is pushing up prices and thwarting many would-be buyers, particularly those looking for cheaper homes. Sales remain below the level reached in 2017 of 5.5 million.

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