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The latest report from the National Association of Realtors finds that existing home sales declined for the fourth month in a row, down 0.7 percent in July from June.

This figure represents a 1.3 percent difference from a Wall Street Journal survey of economists that predicted 0.6 percent growth month-over-month. Year-over-year, existing home sales were down 1.5 percent in July. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun explains, “Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market,” adding that the last time existing home sales were down for four consecutive months was 2013, reports.

A shortage of homes on the market has fueled a sharp rise in prices, which rose 4.5 percent in July from a year earlier to a median price of $269,600. Average hourly wages, by comparison, were up just 2.7 percent. Mr. Yun said rising mortgage rates as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy may have also made homebuying more costly. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in July was 4.53 percent, up from 4.03 percent in January and 3.97 percent in July 2017, according to Freddie Mac.

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