U.S. sales of existing homes fell in January from a year earlier by the most in more than three years. Would-be buyers were stymied by rising prices and a shortage of homes for sale.
The National Association of Realtors says sales dropped 3.2 percent last month, the second straight decline, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million. That was the slowest sales pace since September. Sales dropped 4.8 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier — the steepest such decline since 2014.
A lack of available homes is holding back sales, even as Realtors report that more people are visiting open houses and demand is strong.
The total supply of homes for sale dipped to 1.52 million, the fewest for any January since records began in 1999.