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Fewer newly constructed homes were finished in November, only about 1.116 million. November 2017's numbers were down 6.1 percent from October, and 7.2 percent year-over-year.

"That's not a good sign for the spring market," says Joseph Kirchner,'s senior economist, but he added, "hopefully, that is just a temporary decline." Housing starts, which indicate construction that's been started but not completed, reached their highest level in the decade. Permits decreased 1.4 percent from October to November, but were up 3.4 percent from November 2016's numbers.

"If this rising trend [of more building permits and starts] continues, the worst of the supply shortage could soon end, which would help slow price appreciation in 2018," Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement. "That would be a huge, welcoming relief for renters seeking to become homeowners.”

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